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Iran sanctions could hit sale of Arclight's North Sea Midstream Partners - sources

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By Dasha Afanasieva and Clara Denina

LONDON (Reuters) – The sale of private equity firm Arclight’s North Sea Midstream Partners (NSMP), an oil and gas pipeline firm, could be hit by renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran, financial sources said, as one of its major clients is part-owned by the Iranian Oil Company.

Companies, including many in the energy sector, are determining how their businesses will be affected after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran on May 8 and ordered that sanctions be reimposed.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch <BAC.N> is advising on the sale of NSMP and teasers introducing the asset went out in recent weeks, three sources said.

NSMP has earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation of 147 million pounds, according to the document seen by Reuters and non-binding bids were due on Monday.

NSMP counts the Rhum gas field, in the North Sea and which is 50 percent owned by the Iranian Oil Company, among its clients, three sources said. The two sources who were considering bidding for NSMP said they were evaluating the impact of the return of U.S. sanctions against Iran on its performance.

Sources said the Rhum field was responsible for around a fifth of NSMP’s revenue. Potential buyers’ concerns demonstrate how far reaching the renewed sanctions may be.

UK-listed Serica Energy <SQZ.L> has agreed to acquire BP’s <BP.L> 50 percent stake in the field and the two have agreed to delay the drilling of one well as they wait for a U.S. exemption from the sanctions.

A spokeswoman for Bank of America Merrill Lynch declined to comment. Arclight did not respond to requests for comment.

Parties interested in NSMP include Canadian Omers Infrastructure which has teamed up with Macquarie <MQA.AX>, JP Morgan <JPM.N>, Canadian pension fund CPPIB, and private equity fund KKR <KKR.N>, which is working with BlackRock <BLK.N>, the two sources said. It was not clear whether they had bid.

Spokeswomen for JP Morgan Asset Management, Macquarie, CPPIB, Omers Infrastructure, KKR and BlackRock declined to comment.

The two buy side sources said it was too soon to say how much the company – which includes Teesside Gas Processing Plant, which processes natural gas from the Central North Sea and Southern Gas Basin, as well as the FUKA and SIRGE offshore pipelines – was worth.

Boston-based Arclight, which has invested around $20 billion (15 billion pounds) since it was set up, initially created NSMP in 2012 to invest in the midstream sector of the North Sea’s oil and gas industry in assets often owned and operated by upstream field owners.

Oil company Total <TOTF.PA> sold its interests in the FUKA and SIRGE gas pipelines and the St. Fergus Gas Terminal to North Sea Midstream Partners for 585 million pounds in 2015.

(Additional reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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