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Moderator: It is a great pleasure for me to have a discussion with Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Mr. Geoffrey Pyatt who you all know from his time serving as an Ambassador of the United States here to the Hellenic Republic. It is a great honor that you are joining our conference and we’re having this discussion knowing that we have a big time difference as well. It’s quite early now in Washington, DC.

With this, I will go straight to the discussion that we have, and to my first question, Mr. Pyatt.

We did have the Russian invasion in Ukraine that has become finally now a tool for Europe to speed up the energy transition and the diversification of energy sources in general. How do you see the USA will further expand its collaboration with Greece and its neighboring countries, especially the Balkan areas in the key area for the broader what we call Southeast Europe?

A/S Pyatt: Thanks for having me. I’m sorry we have to do this virtually. I wish I was there in person, but really appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the dialogue.

Let me say, before I get to your question, the one thing I want to underline in terms of what I’m doing here at ENR in the State Department and our work jointly with Greece and other allies in Europe is just how central the issues around the climate crisis have become to the work that we’re all doing here in the US government.

Obviously, I think like every friend of Greece my heart was broken this summer as we watched both the terrible floods in Central Greece around Trikala and all these towns and cities that I got to know so well, but then also the horrific fires in the north earlier in the summer. We’ve had the same thing in the United States. Certainly my home state of California. Just the first eight months of 2023 we had 23 separate billion dollar weather and climate disasters. The highest number ever recorded. So we have to work on this.

What ENR does, what I do, is focus on attacking two problems simultaneously. One is energy transition and the climate crisis that I talked about. And the other is energy security, which you asked about.

I’m enormously proud of the work that the United States has done in the past 18 months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I talked a lot about these issues when I was still Ambassador in Athens. Just last week I was in New York with Ditte Jorgensen, the Commission Director General for Energy and we were talking about all the work that American gas producers are doing in order to ensure that Europe has the energy it needs to overcome Putin’s weaponization of his energy resources.

The United States has become the world’s largest LNG producer. Greece is a big part of the story of our support to Europe in terms of the Revithoussa terminal, in terms of the Alexandroupolis terminal coming online very soon. But what I would really underline is the commitment of American energy producers to being strong partners for Europe. I was very interested to read Director General Jorgensen’s comments yesterday in the Financial Times where she talked about the years and years of demand that she anticipates in the future from Europe for American LNG. And US markets are responding to that.

Our LNG production capacity, our liquefaction capacity here in the US will grow by 50 percent by 2025. The United States is now unassailably the world’s largest LNG producer, but we’re also intensively engaged with our European partners and we have a task force that meets periodically not just on issues of gas supply but also on efficiency. And this is less of an issue in Greece than it is in parts of Northern Europe, but all the work that can be done on heat pumps, on better insulation, on smart thermostats, on efficiency in terms of industrial deployment of gas.

I remember visiting the Mytilineos facilities for instance and the work that they’re doing with GE on both high efficiency turbines but also using GE-enabled technology to ensure the maximum efficiency of their aluminum manufacturing processes.

So that’s the kind of thing where we’re going to work together.

Of course also a big part of my job remains the work that we do on diversification of energy sources and routes. I was just in Rome talking to Desfa when I was in the region as well, talking with Snam, talking with all of our partners around the Southern Gas Corridor which has proven to be a great success.

And then also the work that we’ve done with your neighbors to the north. I was just meeting this week with the Energy Minister from Bulgaria talking about how satisfied everybody is with the success of the IGB, but also the work that’s ongoing — I met day before yesterday with the Deputy Prime Minister of North Macedonia. We’re absolutely committed to driving forward the Greece-North Macedonia gas pipeline as well.

This is a very, very strong area of transatlantic partnership and I’m especially proud of the work that we’ve all done to lay the foundation for a really remarkable energy alliance between the United States and Greece.

Moderator: Mr. Pyatt, moving away from the energy security topic, what do you think the key technologies or infrastructure projects that the US will focus on, especially the [inaudible] technologies while we’re talking about the clean energy transition?

A/S Pyatt: Thanks for that. I’ll say two things.

Doing my job at this particular moment in history, the most important thing that’s happened in the United States over the past year has been the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act which has created a huge acceleration of our energy transition. $36 billion a year of federal money over ten years — so $360 billion total. Add to that the Infrastructure Bill and you get to more than a half trillion dollars in federal money which is super-charging our energy transition. Stimulating new investments in green hydrogen, in solar deployment, in carbon capture and sequestration.

So these are all the technologies that are available to us, but you also see a very rapid acceleration of innovation. So new battery storage technologies, new solar technologies like concentrated solar. Our approach is all of the above. We need to drive innovation across all of these different areas.

And I will say again, this is an area of obvious synergy with Greece. I was very proud during my time in Athens all the work that we did, for instance with Advent Technologies on their work in Patras, but also their involvement with White Dragon and Green HiPo and the work that’s being done by Greece on green hydrogen.

I’ve discussed this also with the Bulgarians who are also very interested in their green hydrogen story as well.

So I think you’re going to see — and to the West, Italy as well. The Italian government has made a major commitment to clean hydrogen as part of their decarbonization strategy for hard-to-abate sectors like steel, like concrete. But also to use as a replacement for fossil gas in energy infrastructure.

So I think we’re just in the early days of this transformation, but what’s clear here in the United States is that the energy transition is unfolding much faster than markets had initially anticipated in part because of federal government policies, in part because of market demands, and in part because of the innovation and the work that’s being done at laboratories across the United States but also in Greece.

Moderator: This is a point, we will definitely benefit on this side of the Atlantic in Europe from the innovation that takes place in the United States, but also learn a few things for how to enable with this legislative let’s say initiatives taking place. Help the market grow faster and accelerate the transition, because some of the fiscal and tax incentives that have been given in the United States seem to be far more efficient, if I may say, than what I see with other measures here in Europe. For example, for manufacturing the PV panels in the United States in order for us to counter a little bit measure of having this huge dependency of the actual equipment and raw materials that we need for the transition only to China. So this is a big issue and a big thing for Europe as well, that should consider much stronger.

Moving to —

A/S Pyatt: Can I say on that issue, I think there’s also a role for Greece here on the clean technology supply chains, especially this area of critical minerals. My team here at ENR spends a lot of time trying to build international coalitions, as we confront exactly the issue you pointed to. This massive increase we are going to see in demand globally for energy minerals — cobalt, lithium, copper, nickel, zinc. So Greece has some of these minerals and some of these resources and we are focused not just on the extraction, not just on the mine, but also on the processing.

I had the same conversation again with the Bulgarian Energy Minister. I think Southeastern Europe, to include Greece — Greece of course has thousands of years of history in mining as we know from the silver mines outside of Athens. And so figuring out how we reduce our dependency on a single source of supply for these energy minerals. It’s a challenge in Europe, it’s a challenge in the United States.

We’re also very focused, and you’ve seen a lot of new investment in the United States in battery technologies. We’ve got a great example there in Greece with Sunlight and the success of their battery manufacturing, both in Northern Greece but also here in the United States in South Carolina. I think you’re going to see a massive demand for those kind of products and it’s a natural area of synergy between companies there in Greece and companies here in the United States.

Moderator: As a final question for our discussion in respect for the time that we have, I will switch again to the energy topic where we see Europe preparing for the winter, beginning of this winter with the highest level of gas reserves that we’ve had in our storage tanks. But last year we have seen a lot of Hellenic cargos coming from the United States and there is a continuous effort from the EU to diversify its energy sources in general, as we have discussed before.

So what do you expect in this area considering the forecast, the strong demand from Asia? Do you see that there will be competition with Europe? And how would the market react in conjunction to what you said in terms of the capacity that has been built up, the liquefaction capacity that’s been built up in the United States?

A/S Pyatt: Great question, and let me tell you, speaking of Greece. I use my Marine Tracker App all the time as I’m traveling around the world. Every time I’m at a gas processing or gas handling facility I’m pulling out the app to see where the ship is coming from, where it’s going to. And of course a lot of those LNG carriers are owned by Greek shipowners. So Greece plays an outsized role in the global LNG supply chain.

That global supply was severely disrupted last year by Putin’s weaponization of his energy. Of course the first victim was your immediate neighbor Bulgaria. I remember meeting with the Bulgarian government when we were all in Alexandroupolis in April for the inauguration of the FSRU construction. And just the deep concern among Bulgarian officials about where they were going to find the gas, how much could they get through Revithoussa, how would they get contracts.

Clearly the market has stabilized dramatically. The price has come down. You’ve seen that the common buying platform that former Commissioner [Sefkovic] has been leading on has been very helpful to stabilizing that dynamic.

American gas producers do not benefit from these extreme price swings. Most of the profits from those extreme spikes of last year went to trading companies, including European trading companies. So we want to see a stable, reliable secure market that is not dependent on Russia.

From that standpoint, and again, Director General Jorgensen’s comments in the FT yesterday are really important and I would commend her remarks to everybody. We see a market in which the United States and American gas producers are responding to the demands that are coming from the marketplace with new investment in additional liquefaction.

I am not overly concerned about returning demand from Asia because of the additional capacity that we see coming on-stream in the United States, but also in Qatar. I’ve had the opportunity to visit the Ras Laffan complex which represents an extraordinary concentration of productive capacity and capital, including a lot of American energy company capital.

So we’re going to continue to work on importantly, how we drive down the carbon intensity of that production. So working on things like methane capture, carbon sequestration and abatement. We are going to encourage dialogue between American producers and buyers in Europe. And I’m confident that the United States as we have done over the past year is going to continue to over-achieve in terms of what our producers are able to deliver to help address European Energy security.

There’s a very clear understanding here in the United States, in the Biden administration, that Europe’s energy security is a core component of national security. So this decoupling from Russia that has happened is a huge contributor to Europe’s security. I’m also very confident that that decoupling is permanent. That is to say nobody is ever again going to look to Russia as a reliable energy supplier.

I was in Rome two weeks ago, as I mentioned. I was very encouraged to hear from both government and industry there the determination not to go back to Russia as a source of supply and the understanding of how dangerous that would be.

I also think you’re going to see a continued evolution of the European debate about Russian LNG and I think we are all agreed that our goal is to reduce the revenues which Russia receives from its oil and gas resources, which means as we’ve committed as part of the G7 to steadily reduce our exposure to Russian energy exports. The United States has been quite clear on that.

We have also been clear in terms of our determination to use our sanctions regime to reduce Russia’s capacity for future energy. For instance you saw recently our announcement of sanctions against the Arctic LNG 2 project. That reflects how determined we are to make sure that Putin is not able to continue to use his energy resources in the future as a source of the revenue that he uses to pursue this awful and illegal war.

Moderator: Assistant Secretary Pyatt, being mindful of time I would like to thank you very much for your information in our conference, and I would like to make a last and final comment for our discussion that we are very lucky, both the United States of America and Greece, that you are dealing with this portfolio of topics from your position because of two main issues.

One, you have deep knowledge of the topic of energy and I personally have this opinion from the years that we know each other and have exchanged a number of times on this topic, but also because you are very knowledgeable about the area, about our country in Greece because you have lived here for a number of years, and you know exactly what needs to be done and how it can be tackled so we can have a good outcome and a successful outcome.

So thank you.

A/S Pyatt: Thank you for having me. It will not surprise you to hear me say that Mary and I miss Greece terribly. I look forward to getting back to Athens before long. I had a wonderful opportunity last week in New York to catch up with a lot of Greek friends including importantly Deputy Minister Papadopoulou and Deputy Minister Frangogiannis. I made clear there as well how strongly committed the Biden Administration is to our 3+1 energy cooperation with Greece.

We also had this discussion, Deputy Secretary Nuland and I, with President Christodoulides. So I very much look forward to picking up with Minister Skylakakis the conversation that I earlier had with Minister Sprekas. And also bringing groups like the HAEE into this conversation as we work on the 3+1 energy context which is such an important part of our larger cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Moderator: It will be our honor.

Thank you very much again for your information. Thank you very much.

A/S Pyatt: Great. Thank you.

U.S. Department of State

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