Competition regulator ACCC has given final approval for Gorgon partners Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil to jointly market the natural gas produced to customers in Western Australia.
The approval was made against the wishes of a number of large LNG customers, who argued that they would be forced to pay higher prices than if they could negotiate deals separately.
“However, the ACCC is of the view that due to the current characteristics of the WA natural gas market, this important source of new gas supply in WA is likely to commence earlier and in larger volumes under joint marketing than would otherwise be the case,” ACCC chairman Peter Kell said.
“The WA market has experienced an increase in demand for natural gas in recent years, with corresponding price increases. The Gorgon Project will provide a welcome new source of supply that will help meet this growing demand and diversify WA’s energy supply sources.”
But the ACCC has only granted the companies authorization to jointly market the product until 31 December, 2015 – shortly after the expected sale of first gas. The companies had requested the right to do so until six years after sales commenced.
The partners have agreed to reserve 2000 petajoules from the Gorgon fields for delivery to Western Australian customers.