THE formal merger is yet to occur, but Deacons and Norton Rose are getting awfully close, last week announcing a collaboration on a major deal advising mega energy firm BP.
Deacons Australia and UK firm Norton Rose have teamed up to advise BP on a carbon offset deal. BP will pay Perth-based Carbon Conscious Limited $2.5 million plus licensing fees to plant Mallee Eucalypt trees on less-arable farmland in Western Australia's wheat-growing areas over a 15 year period.
"It is a significant deal for Australia's carbon offset industry and represents the shape of things to come as businesses prepare for the introduction of climate-change laws," said Elisa de Wit, Deacons partner and leader of the firm's climate change practice.
According to the deal, BP and Carbon Conscious will share in the value of the carbon offsets. BP has the added option of investing further for plantings in 2011 and 2012, there is more clarity on Australia's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
The collaboration between Deacons and Norton Rose comes ahead of the merger of the two firms on 1 January 2010.
"Deacons has a strong climate change practice in its own right but Norton Rose's is among the strongest in the world," said de Wit. "This is an area of law which is of strategic importance to both firms and their clients."
The deal sees BP making a pre-emptive strike before climate-change laws come in place in Australia. The mallee eucalypt trees will generate permits tradable under the proposed laws.
"We see this contract as potentially the initial stage or pilot of what could be a very significant part of BPs carbon management in Australia," the oil company's regional director of emissions offsets, Rajeev Suri, said.