(Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission plans to delay its decision whether to block Chevron’s $53 billion takeover of Hess until after an arbitration case with Exxon Mobil is settled, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

The signal from the U.S. regulator is another hurdle for Chevron’s proposed acquisition of Hess. The deal, which was initially planned to close in the first half of the year, stalled after Exxon in March filed for arbitration, claiming a right of first refusal over Hess’ assets in Guyana.

A three-member panel has not yet begun work in a review Exxon’s claim of preemption rights to acquire Hess’s Guyana assets, the prize in the proposed merger. It is expected to set a schedule for proceedings in the coming weeks.

Hess on June 19 said “the arbitration is moving forward and we expect to have a decision by the end of 2024.” Exxon has signaled the arbitration process would fall into 2025.

(Reporting by Sabrina Valle in Houston and Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar and David Gregorio)

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