TRANSCO is believed to be talking to just three of six bidders on its £40 million 70-km high-pressure gas pipeline project between Aberdeen and St Fergus in Scotland.
Alfred McAlpine/Preussag, Amec Spie and Nacap/Walter Lawrence are left in the frame for the deal.
The three have been in discussions with the client and are believed to have seen off rival bids from Entrepose, John Laing and Murphy.
Tenders were returned at the beginning of March for the contract and a preferred bidder is due to be announced on May 5. Work must be completed by October 2001.