The Russian President Vladimir Putin on his first visit to Iran in eight years has held talks with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Ostensibly for a one-day gas summit, the trip was overshadowed by the war in Syria, where both countries support the government in Damascus.
The leaders agreed that global powers should not impose their will on Syria.
Putin told the meeting of the world’s main gas producers that the long-term contracts which determine Moscow’s deals with most European countries should not be modified.
President Rohani told the gathering that Iran wanted to play a bigger role in supplying gas to the global market, saying that the country was dramatically increasing its natural gas export capacity in preparation for the lifting of international sanctions.
Among the 11 nations who form the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), Russia, Iran and Qatar hold the majority of the world’s reserves.
In its energy outlook, BP predicts that demand for natural gas will grow consistently over the next 20 years, while demand for coal will grow at the slowest rate among fossil fuels.
It’s thought that regulation on the use of coal, less energy-intensive growth in China and plentiful gas supplies will drive the shifting pattern.
Experts predict that increasing demand for gas will see a rise in trade – and that by the early 2020s Asia Pacific will have overtaken Europe as the largest gas importing region.