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International consultants are preparing to submit technical and commercial proposals by 17 November for the contract to carry out consultancy services on the planned Euro-Arab Mashreq gas market project. Seven consortia have been shortlisted to bid for the contract, which is being financed by the European Commission (EC) and will be awarded in December. Under the $4.5 million contract, the successful bidder will draw up a gas masterplan for Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. The masterplan will also help to prepare the legal and regulatory framework for each country for market reform and to create an integrated regional gas market which could potentially be linked to the EU natural gas network. The study will also look at provisions for linking the Arab gas pipeline (AGP) to the European gas network via the planned Nabucco pipeline starting in the Caspian. The AGP pipeline currently runs from El-Arish in Egypt to the Jordanian border and is planned to run through Syria and on to Kilis in southern Turkey.