ISLAMABAD (APP) - Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Naveed Qamar on Saturday said contract awarding process for a 3.5m ton liquefied natural gas (LNG) procurement project worth $25b was carried out in a transparent manner and that it was a better decision in the countrys interest. As a result of the right decision there would be rather a gain of $1.33b over five years instead of $1b loss as baselessly reported in a section of press, said the minister while addressing a press conference here. Secretary petroleum Kamran Lashari was present on the occassion. He said when the issue hit headlines in section of press owned by a particular group then he raised the issue in National Assembly and desired to initiate a probe. Thus, he added, the issue was referred to the Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources, justifying the ministrys decision to award the LNG procurement contract to GDF- SUEZ for being the lowest bidder. He said such projects were of national importance and casting aspersions without any evidence not only jeopardized the transaction but also embarrassed the state. Based on the current prices, he said the GDF-SUEZ offer was substantially lower than that of Vitol/FAUJI and the summary was taken to the ECC was for the project. He said that the requirement of Mashal was 3.5 million tons per annum which was equivalent to 500 mmcfd for 20 years whereas Faujjis offer was of 2 million tons per annum a package offer including terminal and supply. But the ministry had already finalized deal with 4-Gas for providing the terminal, therefore the ministry only required and advertised for supply of LNG. He said the country had to rely on imported gas as the Iran- Pakistan gas pipeline project could take some years and gas shortage was growing due to the rising demand. Responding to a question, he dispelled the impression that media was kept away deliberately from the committees proceedings in a bid to influence the findings into the ministrys favour, saying everything was displayed and it was not possible to influence the committees chairperson.