Big Six firms lend their expertise as $392m acquisition adds to Queensland energy deals

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Two Big Six firms acted as legal counsel in an energy deal which saw Jemena acquire Origin Energy’s Darling Downs Pipeline for $392m.

Ashurst advised Jemena while Herbert Smith Freehills acted for Origin on the deal.

The sale comes as work on energy deals in Queensland remains strong. Earlier this month, eight firms acted on three clean energy projects funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), two of which were in the state. Origin also recently sold its Darling Downs solar project in Queensland to the APA Group. Three firms advised on the $225m Ross River solar farm, which closed 1 May. That project, which is also in the state, is the country’s largest single-stage solar project.

Jemena acquired all outstanding shares of three Origin companies that hold licenses for the pipeline, which connects the Wallumbilla Gas Hub with the Talinga Gas Plant and Origin’s Darling Downs Power Station. The network also transports gas to Australia Pacific LNG and the wider domestic market.

The three companies are Oil Company of Australia (Moura) Transmissions, Origin Energy Walloons Transmissions, and Origin Energy Wallumbilla Transmissions.

The Ashurst team was led by utilities partner Paul Newman, who was assisted by teams from the firm’s different practice groups. From the utilities group, partner Tanya Denning, counsel Teresa Scott, and lawyers Tim Rankin and Tristan Shepherd assisted. Partner Murray Wheater; senior associates Samantha Robson, Alexander McCall, Matt Hartsuyker, and Jennifer Ingram; and lawyer Alexander Kedzior helped from the corporate group.

Native title partner Gavin Scott, competition counsel Justin Jones, resources counsel Lucy Bretherton, and banking associate Peter Allen and lawyer Anthony Pitrussello also provided support. The Ashurst employment team included partner Vince Rogers, counsel Brett Elgar, and senior associate Patrick Lawler.

The Herbert Smith Freehills team, led by partner Rob Merrick, included partners Peter Davis and Daniel Zador, senior associates Michael Boyce, Lynda Tully, and Maja La Rosa, and solicitor Sophie Mony De Kerloy. The team worked closely with Origin’s in-house counsel Daniel Krutik and Jessica Edwards.

The sale of the Darling Downs Pipeline marks the end of Origin’s divestment plan, Freehills said. It raised $1bn from the plan, significantly higher than the initial $800m target. The firm also advised Origin on the sales of Mortlake Terminal Station, Mortlake Pipeline, Cullerin Range Wind Farm, and Stockyard Hill Wind Farm.

Related stories:
Renewable energy work storm continues
Top firms act on Australia’s largest single-stage solar project

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