ELEVEN companies will be invited to provide more information about their proposals for the construction and operation of the proposed North East Gas Interconnector pipeline.

The shortlisted companies are APA Group, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Duet Group, Enbridge International, GDF Suez, Macquarie Capital, Marubeni Corporation, Merlin Energy, OSD Midstream, Quanta Capital and Jemena.

Further assessment was continuing with one final company which may expand this group to 12, a NT government announcement said.

A total of 14 proposals were put to the NT government during the initial expression of interest stage of the process, with chief minister Adam Giles saying this had proven the viability of the project.

“The North East Gas Interconnector is an important nation-building project with the potential to create jobs and industry in the Territory, as well as relieve the east coast gas crisis,” he said.

“At this stage the favoured route isn’t clear with different proponents expressing different preferences, as we expected all along.”

Two routes have been proposed for the pipeline with proposals accepted for both routes.

The first suggested route is from Tennant Creek to Mt Isa in Queensland and the other would connect Alice Springs to Moomba in South Australia.

Suggestions from the industry for alternative routes will be accepted, Mr Giles said.

The proposed pipeline will link the Northern Territory with the east coast gas grid.

“I look forward to seeing the more detailed proposals from the shortlisted companies which will be assessed by an expert evaluation panel in March. We expect they will invite a small group to proceed to the binding bid phase of the project,” Mr Giles said.

“We know that this project is time critical so we are hoping the bid process will be finalised in late September 2015, with contractual and financial close shortly thereafter.”