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Australian competition watchdog will not oppose sale of Ironbark project

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, or ACCC, announced May 22 that it will not oppose Australia Pacific LNG Pty Ltd.'s A$231 million acquisition of Origin Energy Ltd.'s Ironbark coal seam gas project.

The ACCC said the proposed deal would be "unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any domestic gas market."

However, ACCC commissioner Roger Featherston noted that the commission has voiced concerns about the "challenges facing east coast domestic gas users and will continue to closely examine the acquisition of further gas reserves by major LNG producers and the likely impact on competition."

Ironbark, located in the Surat Basin in eastern Australia, is an undeveloped coal seam gas permit held by Origin Energy with around 129 petajoules of proved and probable, or 2P, reserves.

Australia Pacific LNG Pty Ltd. is a joint venture between Origin Energy, ConocoPhillips subsidiary ConocoPhillips Australia Pacific LNG Pty Ltd and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. unit Sinopec Australia Pacific LNG Pty Ltd., which hold stakes of 37.5%, 37.5% and 25%, respectively.