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Australian Watchdog Concerned over Shell’s BG Takeover

first_imgzoom The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has expressed its concerns over the proposed USD 70 billion Royal Dutch Shell’s takeover of BG Group, saying that it might limit local competition and increase gas prices.The ACCC said it has received a large number of submissions from market participants concerned about the competition effects of the proposed acquisition.Shell currently has a 50% interest in Arrow Energy, a Queensland coal seam gas company that produces gas in the Surat and Bowen Basins.In Australia, BG holds a majority stake in the Queensland Curtis Liquefied Natural Gas project (QCLNG)—an LNG project in Gladstone, Queensland. It also holds interests in natural gas tenements and production facilities in the Surat Basin in Queensland, and exploration rights in the Bowen and Cooper Basins.“The ACCC is concerned that, by aligning Shell’s interest in Arrow Energy with BG’s LNG facilities in Queensland, the proposed acquisition may change Shell’s incentives such that it will prioritise supply to BG’s LNG facilities over competing gas users. As a result, Shell could choose to direct more (and possibly all) of Arrow’s large gas reserves towards meeting BG’s contracts to supply LNG export markets. This would remove some or all of Arrow’s gas from the domestic market,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.“Currently, Arrow has the largest quantity of uncommitted gas reserves in eastern Australia and there are a limited number of other potential suppliers to the domestic market. If the proposed acquisition resulted in less supply of gas to the domestic market, therefore, this could substantially lessen competition to supply domestic gas users and lead to higher domestic prices and more restrictive contractual terms.”The ACCC has invited further submissions from the market in response to the proposed takeover, and as a result, its final decision will be deferred until November 12, 2015.last_img read more

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Water Strategy on Target

first_imgNova Scotia’s Drinking Water Strategy is one year old and is ontrack, on target and on budget, says Environment and LabourMinister Kerry Morash. “Municipalities, individuals and government have been doing agreat job of working together to implement the strategy andensure Nova Scotians have clean, safe drinking water,” said Mr.Morash. The minister is attending the annual meeting of the Unionof Nova Scotia Municipalities and discussed the water strategy ina panel presentation today, Oct. 17. The Drinking Water Strategy is based on the universallyrecognized multiple-barrier approach to managing water systems.The multiple-barrier approach calls for a series of safeguardsalong the water supply route to protect water resources. Thethree lines of defence are:– Keep clean water clean – protecting the source.– Make it safe – treatment to remove impurities.– Prove it’s safe – ongoing water monitoring and testing. The key elements of the Drinking Water Strategy are to clarifyroles and responsibilities for all stakeholders, enhance themultiple-barrier approach to water management and create aninter-departmental drinking water management committee to manageand implement the strategy. The province has accomplished much since the Drinking WaterStrategy was released in Antigonish in October 2002. It has setup a system of regular audits of all municipal water systems.About 1,800 privately owned public water supplies are registeredwith the department. It has established a stakeholder committeewith the Municipal Public Works Association of Nova Scotia toimprove information sharing and consultation with municipalgovernment on issues related to water. A key first-year goal for the strategy is completing assessmentsof municipal water treatment facilities to verify that systemsmeet current environmental standards. More than $200,000 hasalready been provided through Service Nova Scotia and MunicipalRelations to municipalities to help them complete theassessments. Municipalities that haven’t yet applied areencouraged to do so before Dec. 31, to ensure they can still meettheir assessment deadline. “Municipal supplies in Nova Scotia are in great shape, but wealways need to keep improving our systems. All municipalitieshave put a great deal of time, effort, and resources intoaddressing this important issue,” said Mr. Morash. The inter-departmental committee will review and update thestrategy as issues are resolved and new issues emerge. Thecommittee will also identify the next steps needed to effectivelymanage all water resources in Nova Scotia, including availabilityof water for agriculture and water resource stewardship programs.Three working groups are currently studying nutrient managementand water quality protection, source water protection and smallwater systems. A copy of the provincial Drinking Water Strategy is available onthe Environment and Labour Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/enla/water .last_img read more