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MILAN, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Ten liquefied natural gas (LNG) trading firms have been invited by state-run Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co (EGAS) to join a technical workshop, which traders say amounts to a short-list of potential winners for a major LNG tender.
Twelve companies sent through offers to supply Egypt with 45 LNG cargoes for 2015/2016 shipment and now two appear to have been knocked out, traders said, based on the latest communication by EGAS.
Among the 10 companies invited to attend the workshop are Noble Group, PetroChina, Shell, Gunvor, Vitol, Trafigura, Gas Natural, BP and Engie.
Egypt has emerged as a major market for LNG and is highly-sought after by traders who must contend with weakening demand in Asia, oversupply and plunging prices.
According to two sources, EGAS copied all 12 participants into an email but invited only 10 firms to join a workshop it is holding to discuss shipping issues around its second LNG import terminal, into which the 45 cargoes will be delivered.
"It does imply a short list of sorts, even if not an official one," one of the sources said.
Another voiced a similar opinion.
A third trader said a formal short-list has not yet been announced as technical evaluations of bids for the new floating import terminal continue.
The floating regasification and import terminal, which converts super-cooled LNG into gas, would be Egypt's second following the import terminal from Norway's Hoegh LNG , which began operating in April. (Reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic; Editing by Mark Potter)