Three companies have submitted bids to build a new £200m gas pipeline.
The ‘Gas to the West’ project will serve Cookstown, Magherafelt, Coalisland and Dungannon.
Bids have been lodged by Phoenix Gas, Firmus Energy and Bord Gais Eireann (UK).
The scheme will cost about £200m, with up to £32.5m of that coming from the Department of Enterprise.
Phoenix and Firmus already own gas networks in Northern Ireland.
Phoenix owns the pipeline network in greater Belfast and Larne.
Firmus controls what is known as the 10 towns network that includes Armagh, Ballymena and Craigavon.
Bord Gais Eireann, the Republic of Ireland’s state-owned energy firm, owned Firmus until earlier this year when it agreed to sell it to Icon Infrastructure.