Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, said that Iran will increase exports of natural gas to Armenia and deepen broader economic ties between the two countries, Massis Post reported. Rouhani’s comments came during his official visit to Yerevan in late December to meet with his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarkisian.

Furthermore, the head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, Gholam-Hossein Shafeie said that Iran’s natural gas can be exported to Europe via a route linking Armenia to Georgia and the Black Sea, according to Global Times.

In an ensuing joint statement, the Armenian and Iranian presidents said they “reaffirmed their determination to further expand bilateral relations.” They singled out joint energy projects planned or already implemented by the two neighboring states.

Armenia currently imports up to 500mcm/y of Iranian gas through a pipeline built in 2008. However, the country signaled plans to buy more gas from Iran earlier 2016. A government delegation met with representatives of Iran’s National Iranian Gas Export Company for that purpose in Tehran during October. Armenia has until now paid for Iranian gas with electricity delivered to the Islamic Republic. This swap arrangement is due to be expanded significantly after the construction of a third transmission line connecting the Armenian and Iranian power grids. It is slated for completion by 2019.