The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission is finally doing what it is supposed to by investigating the proposed multi-million kina purchase of InterOil by ExxonMobil.
We’ll see if ICCC has some teeth or is just another ineffective department wasting our tax.
There is no doubt the acquisition by ExxonMobil will mean its monopoly of the country’s oil and gas sector and no competition.
Any or most aspects discouraging competition for consumer products breach the ICCC Act.
It is ICCC’s function to foster a conducive economic environment in which companies are able to trade and compete freely within the law.
ICCC promised to take a competition assessment to determine whether there are any adverse competition effects (ICCC CEO, Paulus Ain, The National, Sept 29).
The acquisition will give ExxonMobil, the leading joint venture partner and operator of PNG LNG, about 36 per cent stake in Papua LNG (Gulf) and other potential projects that InterOil has licence to.
The real danger about this acquisition is, and no one has mentioned this publicly, that it is likely to leave the country with just one LNG project and without about 98 per cent of earnings from the project – all will go overseas.