The £47bn (€64bn, $70bn) merger deal between Royal Dutch Shell and British rival BG Group has received approval from US regulators – the first clearance from a group of regulators including the European Union, China, Australia and Brazil.
Shell said the proposed merger has cleared its first antitrust hurdle by receiving early termination of the US antitrust waiting period from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
"Securing early termination of the US antitrust waiting period from the FTC at this early stage is a clear demonstration of the good progress we're making on the deal," said Shell CEO, Ben van Beurden.
"We're well underway with the anti-trust and regulatory filing processes in relevant jurisdictions around the world and we're confident that, following the usual thorough and professional review by the relevant authorities, the deal will receive the necessary approvals."
Beurden, who has recently visited Trinidad, Brazil, Kazakhstan and China to discuss the deal, added that the parties are on track for completion of the deal in early 2016.
BG Group separately confirmed the receipt of the approval.
The companies' boards in April reached an agreement on the terms of the cash and share offer made by Shell, valuing BG at about £47bn – one of the biggest deals in the energy sector.
As per the terms, Shell will provide £3.83 in cash and 0.4454 Shell B shares for each BG share.
The proposed deal requires review and approval by relevant antitrust and regulatory authorities, and support from both sets of shareholders.