Shell gets one step closer to megadeal with BG

HOUSTON — Royal Dutch Shell said Tuesday that its planned $70 billion acquisition of British gas giant BG Group has cleared its antitrust hurdle with U.S. regulators.

The Dutch energy super major said the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has waived the initial antitrust waiting period, and that the deal, announced in April, is still on track to close in early 2016. The move represents the only U.S. approval required for the deal, according to Shell, although additional international hurdles remains.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said Tuesday in a prepared statement that the early termination of the waiting period is a “clear demonstration of the good progress” being made.

“We’re well underway with the antitrust and regulatory filing processes in relevant jurisdictions around the world, and we’re confident that, following the usual thorough and professional review by the relevant authorities, the deal will receive the necessary approvals,” van Beurden added.

Shell is one of Houston’s largest employers with more than 10,000 local workers, and the BG Group Place skyscraper is located in downtown Houston.

The deal would represent one of the energy sector’s largest acquisitions in years. BG is a key player in liquefied natural gas and Shell is betting big on the future global demand for LNG.

As Shell hones in more on LNG and deepwater production, the energy super major plans to sell about $30 billion in non-core properties and business units from 2016 to 2018.