On May 10, 2013, the senior deputy commissioner at the Mergers Branch of the Competition Bureau (the Bureau) announced that the Bureau is changing its information requirements for merger transactions involving the upstream sector of the Canadian oil and gas industry.1

Effective immediately, the Bureau will no longer require detailed information, including operator and user contact information, in respect of field facilities such as batteries, compressor stations or proprietary gathering systems when it reviews merger transactions that involve only the upstream oil and gas sector. Such information will, however, continue to be required for mergers involving gas plants, midstream or downstream oil and gas assets.

Streamlined approach

The Bureau's new approach is being implemented as a result of a comprehensive internal review of its approach, in consultation with industry experts and experienced lawyers in this area, in response to industry and Canadian competition lawyer concerns relating to the amount of information required for upstream oil and gas merger reviews. In recent years, more detailed submissions and information regarding field facilities had been required in applications for approval under the Competition Act.

As a result of the Bureau's new approach, the Competition Act approval process in upstream merger transactions should become simpler and more efficient, with respect to both the preparation of the required Competition Act filings and the Bureau's review of such filings. This should facilitate the planning of merger transactions in the upstream oil and gas industry, and make the timing of the Competition Act approval process for such transactions more predictable.