ACCC authorisation of the arrangements permits joint venture participants to jointly market gas from the Mereenie field until February 2027.
Within this period, they can enter into gas supply agreements with customers on common terms and conditions that could operate up to February 2032.
ACCC commissioner Stephen Ridgeway said that Australia’s competition laws generally require businesses to act independently when deciding who they should sell to, but the ACCC may grant an authorisation if it feels that public benefit outweighs any likely harm.
“In the case of Mereenie gas, joint marketing arrangements will likely reduce transaction costs and encourage investment to increase gas production, which will facilitate gas being brought to market sooner,” said Ridgeway.
“Separate marketing of gas is generally preferable as it results in more competitive outcomes; however, the volume of gas produced at this field is relatively small, and demand in the NT-Mount Isa gas market is mostly met by a small number of large contracts.
“The presence of alternative suppliers limits the risk of the Mereenie joint venture offering its gas at higher prices, or on less flexible terms.”
The ACCC issued a draft determination on 19 November 2021, which is available on the ACCC public register at Macquarie Mereenie & Ors.
The Mereenie gas field is located in the Amadeus Basin, around 250 km west of Alice Springs.
For more information visit the ACCC website.