French oil and gas giant Total S.A. used in-house lawyers to negotiate a proposed deal to acquire natural gas assets for up to $3.6 billion.

Houston-based InterOil Corp. currently holds a licence develop two gas fields in the South Pacific country. The two fields are the largest undeveloped conventional gas resource in Asia, according to Herbert Smith Freehills.

Total plans to pay between $1.5 billion and $3.6 billion, depending on the amount of natural gas the two fields contain. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

Peter Herbel is general counsel at Total, though it was unclear at press time which in-house lawyers took the lead on this transaction. Herbel is stepping down at the end of the month after nine years in the role.

Herbert Smith Freehills Perth partner Stuart Barrymore led the team advising InterOil.