A/S Pyatt: Thank you very much. Good morning everybody. Let me start by saying what a huge honor it is for me to be up here on stage with Minister Oprea and especially with Minister Burduja who has been already a fantastic partner in the US-Romania alliance around the energy issues that I’m responsible for.

I also want to acknowledge General Jones and just to say I thought his opening remarks really [inaudible] exactly the right way in today’s conversation, and to really salute him, my friend Ambassador Mosbacher and all the others who [at the event] and who have played such a leading role in helping us get to where we are today in terms of this Three Seas Vision [inaudible].

Of course I want to acknowledge our terrific ambassador, we are so, so lucky to have Ambassador Kavalec here in Bucharest. And I say this, although it is now my third visit to Romania as Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources in the space of one year. That reflects a lot of things, but nothing more than the importance of this relationship and the context of the larger transformation of Europe and European energy and energy security that has been a consequence of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

I also should underline at this point my government’s tremendous commitment to the Three Seas initiative. If you didn’t believe that, you can look at the size and seniority of the US delegation that is here today for the Three Seas summit including Secretary Kerry, Chair Lewis, myself and dozens of other representatives from the US government. We are all in on the Three Seas vision for this region and for Europe more broadly.

I want to talk a little bit this morning especially, of course, about the energy issues which are so central to the work of my bureau, the global responsibilities that I have, but a particular focus on Europe in the context of Vladimir Putin’s weaponization of Russia’s energy resources, and the simultaneous challenges of the Global Energy Foundation and the opportunities that that has created to be a real driver of economic growth, but also to accelerate the work that we are doing together to reach our net zero goals, to innovate and deploy faster on wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal, storage, transmission, all of the technologies that are going to be so important to driving a decarbonized energy system in the future.

We are working on these issues globally, but our partnership with Europe is particularly intensive, building on the Deputies’ work that we have done together on energy security, but now with a particular focus on this energy transition agenda.

I think it’s fair to say that there is no country in the European Union with whom we have a deeper and more comprehensive engagement on these issues than Romania if you look at the breadth of undertakings that we are involved with. I’ll talk in a minute about civil nuclear, but we have a very long legacy relationship on fossil fuels issues. We have new cooperation that we have launched together with Minister Burduja on offshore wind. We had a terrific conversation yesterday about the opportunities that we see in the future on green hydrogen, on geothermal. We see a very important role for Romania in energy connectivity in terms of grids, in terms of gas transmission, and I want to talk again a little bit also about Greece, but I think Greece’s incorporation now formally into the Three Seas initiative and the relationship between the FSRU in Alexandroupolis and the legacy gas pipeline through the Trans-Balkan network that will make it possible to bring American LNG all the way from Alexandroupolis up through Bulgaria, Romania, as far as Ukraine, is a very dynamic moment on these issues.

I discussed a little bit this morning with Foreign Minister Odobescu the very strong American commitment to our civil nuclear partnership. I want to start by underlining that in the United States civil nuclear power is an indispensable aspect of our broader strategy for energy transition. Nuclear is still about 20 percent of the US energy mix, and that will remain the case as we look out to the future.

We have a particularly important partnership with Romania. Because of Romania’s long history as a responsible user of civil nuclear power and the opportunities that creates now for us to develop a new line of effort between our government focus on small modular reactors. We have John Hopkins here from NuScale. I know John will be meeting with many of you today. But I just want to underline from a Washington perspective, we are all in on the SMR vision for the future of the US civil nuclear relationship.

Chair Lewis will talk a little bit later on about the commitment that EXIM has made to NuScale’s work. And what I want to underline for all of you is that we see this not just as important to Romania’s energy mix but to the whole region because I am quite confident that once we get to deployment of the Romanian SMR project you are going to have a line forming up of other countries. I’ve talked to Kazakhstan, I’ve talked to Ghana, I’ve talked to the Baltics, I’ve talked to Slovakia. All of them are looking to this SMR concept as a way to catalyze the next generation of their civil nuclear operations.

A particularly important partner in this regard would be Ukraine. As one Europe’s largest civil nuclear countries and a country whose legacy Soviet reactor infrastructure is coming up for retirement, so there’s tremendous opportunity as we look to the future — first of all civil nuclear will be remaining a key aspect of Ukraine’s push for a clean energy system, and there’s a tremendous opportunity to build synergies now between neighbors like Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, all of whom have a legacy history with nuclear power and who can look to Ukraine as both a partner and a commercial opportunity.

I’m very excited later this morning to join Chair Lewis, Secretary Kerry. We will go out to Bucharest Politehnica to visit the SMR simulator there and I thank Minister Barduja for the support of that. It is a reflection of the US government’s all-agency commitment to making this a success. The State Department, EXIM, Department of Energy, the White House. We all share a priority on delivering the implementation of the Romanian SMR project as quickly as possible, working to the target of 2029, before the end of this decade, to have that project underway. So this is a very exciting time on those issues.

I want to acknowledge in particular Chair Lewis’ presence here because EXIM Has been an indispensable partner in our civil nuclear alliance with Romania, and Chair Lewis and her agency are such an important example of the toolkit that the Biden administration is deploying to try to address global economic competition and the geopolitical elements of that competition and in particular, to give our Ambassadors and our Chiefs of Mission around the world the strongest possible toolkit for their economic statecraft.

I want to talk really briefly about fossil, and just emphasize that if there is one lesson that I think we have all learned over the past 18 months it’s that we can’t get to energy transition if we don’t have energy security. So delivering reliable and affordable energy in the face of disruptions that Vladimir Putin has caused is indispensable to that larger energy transition process.

Of course there are decades of partnership between American companies and Romania. Fossil energy, oil and gas. And I want to congratulate the Minister in particular for the recent FID decision on Neptun Deep. The coming online of that offshore gas resource will make Romania the EU’s largest gas producer, helping significantly to fill the hole in European gas supplies created by Russia’s weaponization of its gas resources and the fact that Russia is never again going to be viewed as a reliable energy supplier.

I say all the time, I see a big part of my job as Assistant Secretary is making sure that Russia will never again be viewed by Europe or our other allies as a reliable energy supplier, and that there is no temptation when the Ukrainian war is over and Ukraine achieves victory, there is no temptation to revert to anything like business as usual with Russia.

So Romania’s resource there is particularly important. We had an excellent discussion with the Minister yesterday about opportunities that we see to continue to deepen our partnership to figure out how we reduce the carbon burden of that fossil energy as low as possible. So developing our partnership in areas like carbon sequestration is a critical aspect of the US strategy in reducing the climate impact of our fossil fuel industry and its impact.

The United States, because of Russia’s actions is now the world’s largest gas exporter. We will retain that position for years and years to come. As an administration, we are committed to producing that gas with the lowest possible carbon footprint which means a strong emphasis on methane management, CO2 abatement, deployment energy strategies for carbon sequestration.

The last couple of points on the US-Romania partnership in terms of other areas of opportunity that we see for the future. Again, Minister Burduja and I had a good conversation about this yesterday.

One thing importantly that I referred to already is offshore wind. I’m very proud of the work that my bureau, the State Department’s ENR Bureau has done to support Romania’s development of a legal framework for offshore wind deployment. This is a new area in the United States, and we’re going to [go along with] Romania has an obvious set of assets there.

Another that I’ve taken as an area of [homework] is geothermal. The ENR Bureau has a good program here inside Eastern Europe in the Western Balkans focused on the geothermal resources of this region, most of which are completely intact but they are clearly part of the solution, especially for applications like the [inaudible].

I’ve already referred to green hydrogen, an area where Romania because of its large civil nuclear capability is a natural partner as we look to work with Europe to build a framework for clean hydrogen which helps to get us to that path with the decarbonization of our fossil energy systems.

Finally, all of the issues around an electrified economy. Energy storage. Grid connectivity. We’re dealing with all of this in the United States. It’s obviously an issue in Europe as well. It’s an area where American companies know a lot and where American companies are innovating very rapidly on exactly the intersection of energy policy and tech policy. So I can’t think of anybody better positioned on these issues than Minister Burduja.

Then I also listened very carefully to Minister Oprea’s remark about [economy]. I just emphasize that as we look at this decarbonized economy, the issue of critical minerals and in particular the de-risking of our dependence on Chinese processing of critical minerals is especially important. So there’s an opportunity there as well.

Lastly, I’ll wind up by pulling the lens out, if you’ll forgive for speaking just a minute about Ukraine, but I just want to underline how important the Three Seas initiative is, as General Jones said, in the context of what Vladimir Putin has done over the past year and a half.

My boss, Secretary of State Blinken, has just landed in Kyiv. He will reaffirm in Ukraine today our very strong commitment to stand with Ukraine as long as it takes, which is exactly the phrase that your Foreign Minister used in our discussion this morning as well.

Energy, energy security is a critical aspect of that. And related to the Ukraine energy security equation is Moldova. I just want to salute Romania’s exceptional leadership in supporting Moldova. The fact that President Maia Sandu is here for the Three Seas summit is a very important signal. We are very supportive of the new agreement for Transgaz in Romania to take over the gas distribution system of Moldova as part of our support for the restoration of that country’s energy system, and it’s a really wonderful example of the leadreship that Romania is providing in the wider region and the way in which our strategic objectives are aligned.

Thank you all for the attention. Thank you, Minister Burduja for the tremendous partnership.

And let me just underline to conclude, the State Department’s very, very strong commitment to the energy aspect of this relationship. As General Jones said, this is an alliance of values but it’s also an alliance where energy is absolutely central, and the US-Romania aspect of that is really central to the larger [inaudible].

So I look forward to the conversation today and look forward to all of the results from the Three Seas summit.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future