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EXCLUSIVE-Natgas pipeline company Nuevo explores $2.5 bln sale-sources

NEW YORK, May 9 (Reuters) - Nuevo Midstream LLC has hired Barclays PLC to explore a sale of the U.S. natural gas pipeline infrastructure company that could fetch more than $2.5 billion, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The sale process has already kicked off for Nuevo, which is owned by private equity firm EnCap FlatRock Midstream, one of the sources said.

Houston, Texas-based Nuevo's pipelines gather natural gas from the major and independent producers in the shale plays in the Delaware Basin portion of the Permian Basin. The Permian basin, located in Western Texas and Northeast New Mexico, is considered highly desirable to developers since advanced drilling techniques have revived the region, which is a decades-old oil patch.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is not public. Representatives for Nuevo, EnCap and Barclays declined to comment.

EnCap FlatRock Midstream specializes in owning, growing and developing oil and gas pipelines and other transmission related facilities. After helping form Nuevo in 2011, EnCap FlatRock Midstream committed $308 million to helping the company grow.

Nuevo Midstream's roughly 270 miles (435 km) of high and low pressure gas gathering pipeline are in the Permian Basin. Nuevo's network also connects the El Paso Natural Gas and DCP Sandhills pipelines.

Barclays has seen several personnel exits in recent weeks, including prominent energy banker Skip McGee. Despite the departures, its oil and gas energy team was involved in three deals announced this week, including Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc's $3.1 billion sale of its Eagle Ford shale assets to Encana.

(Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Marguerita Choy)