The competition watchdog has raised concerns about Caltex Australia Ltd’s acquisition of Mobil’s fuel terminal at the Queensland port of Gladstone.
Caltex and Mobil own adjoining terminals at Port Gladstone that are used to store petrol and diesel that each company ships into the port.
The two have operated their terminals jointly under an agreement signed in 1997, but Mobil is now proposing a sale of its terminal to Caltex.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been examining the potential sale and found that it would “substantially lessen competition” in Gladstone’s imported petrol and diesel market.
Caltex’s acquisition would hinder the entry of an independent fuel supplier into the market for the foreseeable future as there was limited opportunities to develop or acquire other terminals, the ACCC said.
Mobil would sell its assets to another fuel supplier if the Caltex sale did not go ahead, the ACCC said.
“It is the ACCC’s preliminary view that increased competition from entry by independent suppliers could put downward pressure on wholesale prices in the region, leading to better outcomes for petrol and diesel users in the Gladstone region,” it said.
The findings are not final and the issue is open to consultation until December 23.
A final decision from the ACCC is expected on January 27.
Caltex shares were up 52 cents, or 3.94 per cent, at $13.72 at 1525 AEDT.