The biggest oil deal of the decade just cleared a major hurdle

Ruby Walsh riding Vautour leads the pack over a fence in The Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle during The Festival Champion Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 11, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by )Richard Heathcote/Getty ImagesRuby Walsh riding Vautour leads the pack over a fence in The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle during The Festival Champion Day at Cheltenham Racecourse on March 11, 2014.

China on Monday gave the thumbs up to Shell’s plans to swallow up oil explorer BG Group in a deal that will create a £224 billion ($340 billion) oil giant.

The deal, first announced in April, has already received approval from regulators in Australia, Brazil, and the European Union, and the Chinese approval is the last needed.

BG Group CEO Helge Lund says in a statement on Monday:

Following today’s approval from MOFCOM [the Chinese Ministry of Commerce], all pre-conditional regulatory approvals for the combination have been received and we now move to the next phase.

The proposed combination has strong industrial logic, particularly in deep water production and LNG, and will accelerate the delivery of value to our shareholders.

Shell announced the deal after a period of prolonged oil price weakness at the end of last year and the start of 2016. Discovering new reserves of oil had become more expensive than simply buying companies with proven reserves and expertise in many cases.

Shell is paying £47 billion ($70 billion) for BG.

Shell hopes BG will help its deep water production business and its liquefied natural gas businesses to grow. Shell CEO Ben van Beurden says in a statement:

This is a strategic deal that will make Shell a more profitable and resilient company in a world where oil and gas prices could remain lower for some time. We will now seek approval from both sets of shareholders as we move towards deal completion in early 2016.

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