Gas pipeline bid winner

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish state natural gas and pipeline firm Botas yesterday said France’s Sofregaz had won a tender to conduct engineering work on five natural gas grids, including a $300 million gas pipeline between Turkey and Greece. Sofregaz submitted the lowest bid, at $19.75 million, to conduct engineering studies of the projects and has now been invited to negotiate a contract, Botas said in a statement. Two hundred kilometers of the 285-kilometer (177-mile) pipeline, stretching from the western Turkish city of Bursa to Komotini in Greece, will be laid in Turkey. The pipeline is due to pump 500 million cubic meters of natural gas to Greece from 2005, according to a memorandum of understanding signed between two countries in late March. Botas wants to speed up construction of the storage facilities and complete domestic and international natural gas networks to help eat up an expected supply glut. Sofregaz will also conduct engineering work on the Turkish section of the BP-led Shakh Deniz project with an estimated cost of $3.2 billion. The pipeline aims to link the giant Shakh Deniz fields in Azerbaijan to Turkey by 2005 through a pipeline in a bid to carry Caspian natural gas to European markets. Sofregaz will also conduct engineering work in three local natural gas networks. Botas had initially unveiled bids in late July for the projects but did not decide on the winners. Firms that submitted bids included the Netherlands’ Tebodin BV Consultants and Engineers, Britain’s Penspen Ltd and John Brown Hydrocarbon, US-based Universal Ensco and Germany’s ILF Beratende Ingenieure.