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ASHGABAT (RFE/RL) -- The winner of the tender for the trans-Turkmenistan "East-West" pipeline will likely have an advantage in determining whether the natural gas will go to Western Europe or Russia, an energy expert told RFE/RL's Turkmen Service.

Andrew Neff, senior research analyst for IHS Global Insight on energy issues, told RFE/RL on May 27 that the company chosen to construct the pipeline will gain some influence on the region's energy policies.

He said that if a Russian company wins the tender then this would tie the East-West pipeline to the Pricaspian basin (Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan-Russia) route.

The 800-1,000 kilometer East-West pipeline is scheduled to transport 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas from the Osman gas fields in Southern Yoloten to the Caspian Sea coast.

Turkmen state media reports that so far some 70 companies are bidding for the project.

Turkmenistan is expected to contribute 10 bcm per annum to the EU-backed Nabucco pipeline, while the Pricaspian pipeline is planning to transport 20 bcm of Kazakh and Turkmen natural gas to Russia.
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