$2.2bn energy deal inked with help from two leading firms

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Two firms have confirmed that their dealmakers helped ink the recent billion-dollar deal between Santos and ConocoPhillips.

Clayton Utz is advising ConocoPhillips, while Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills (Greenwoods) is working alongside co-adviser EY for Santos, which is acquiring the northern Australian businesses of ConocoPhillips for $2.2bn.

The Clayton Utz team is headed by corporate and partner and energy and resources specialist Emma Covacevich. The team worked alongside ConocoPhillips’ legal, tax, and commercial teams for more than six months on all aspects of the strategic sale process, Clayton Utz said.

“We enjoyed the challenge of being able to bring our team's expertise across a whole range of areas - in this case, tax, intellectual property, corporate, competition, and oil and gas – to navigate often complex issues and achieve a great outcome for our client,” Covacevich said.

The Greenwoods team is headed by directors Nick Heggart and Cameron Blackwood. The team’s tax advisory advice includes income tax, petroleum resource rent tax, and stamp duty. Blackwoods said that the complex deal was executed under a tight time frame.

The subsidiaries being sold hold ConocoPhillips’ 37.5% interest in the Barossa project and Caldita Field, its 56.9% interest in Darwin LNG and Bayu-Undan Field, its 40% interest in the Poseidon Field, and its 50% stake in the Athena Field. ConocoPhillips will retain its 37.5% stake in the Australia Pacific LNG project.

The deal will retrospectively take effect from 1 January, Clayton Utz said. Pending regulatory approval, the acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

Allens, Clayton Utz, Gilbert + Tobin, Herbert Smith Freehills, and King & Wood Mallesons also acted in last year’s $2.9bn acquisition of Quadrant Energy by Santos.