SYDNEY, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Australia’s antitrust regulator said on Monday it was reviewing a proposal by top energy retailer Origin Energy to buy out BP Plc’s stake in the Bulwer Island gas terminal they jointly own in Brisbane.
In a statement on its website, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would rule on the proposal on March 19. Origin, which already has a 50 percent stake in the Bulwer Island facility, declined comment.
Origin has been expanding into export-oriented businesses, such as oil and gas exploration, to offset declining domestic retail demand for energy.
BP and other refineries owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc , Exxon Mobil Corp and Caltex Australia Ltd , have meanwhile been scaling down their operations in Australia as they struggle against strong competition in Asia, falling oil prices and high costs.
BP said last year it would stop production at Bulwer Island by mid-2015 as it restructures its struggling refining and marketing business in Australia.
Shell also said last year that it was exiting refining and marketing in Australia, selling the business for around $2.6 billion to global oil trader Vitol SA. (Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Miral Fahmy)