BRUSSELS, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group announced their planned merger received unconditional approval Wednesday from the European Commission.
The board of directors at Shell and BG Group issued a joint statement in April saying they've reached an agreement for the Dutch acquisition of its rival.
The deal, valued at around $70 billion, is among the largest acquisitions since the Exxon Mobil merger was completed in 1999. It also comes at a time when most energy companies are streamlining capital expenses in a weak oil market.
Both companies issued statements Wednesday saying the merger was approved by the European Commission, which found the combined corporate market share would be limited in terms of exploration and production despite the acquisition.
When the deal was announced Helge Lund, chairman of BG Group, said he'd deliver to Shell a company that is well suited to navigate a new energy market. Lund left his position as chief executive officer at Norwegian energy company Statoil in February to lead BG Group, saying the time was right for a change.
In a quarterly statement issued in July, Shell said both sides were planning for what it described as a "world class integration" of two industry leaders.
The European Commission found the merged entity wouldn't shove its rivals out of the market, notably through access to Shell's growing liquefied natural gas infrastructure.
BG Group has focused on pushing production from its Queensland Curtis liquefied natural gas facility in Australia
"The commission concluded that the takeover would not allow Shell to influence prices and that these markets would remain competitive after the transaction," the European body said in a statement. "The commission therefore concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns."
In January, BG announced it formed an alliance with contracting company KBR in an effort to cut costs in the low price environment.