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  • In this on-the-record briefing, Geoffrey Pyatt, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Energy Resources, discusses current U.S. international energy policy priorities as the northern hemisphere heads into winter and priorities for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28). 


MODERATOR:  Well, good morning, everyone.  Welcome to the Washington Foreign Center’s briefing on U.S. Global Energy Policy Priorities.  My name is Jake Goshert and I’m the moderator for this briefing.  As a reminder, the briefing is on the record, and we will post a transcript of the briefing on our website, which is  For the journalists joining us on Zoom, please take a moment to rename yourself in the chat window with your name, outlet, and country.  Our briefer today is Geoffrey Pyatt, assistant secretary of State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources.  Following his opening remarks, we’ll open the floor for questions.  But with that, I will turn it over to the assistant secretary for his opening remarks.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  Great, thank you very much, Josh*.  It’s great to be back here at the Foreign Press Center.  It’s been a really busy fall for the State Department’s Energy Bureau.  So as we got ready for COP28, starting in Dubai at the end of this month, I thought it would be useful to do a little stock-take, have a conversation about all of the different dialogues and engagements that we’ve been involved with – and those that I won’t mention are also a fair game as well – but also provide some framing remarks in how we’re thinking about the U.S. Government’s energy diplomacy and the agenda for energy security and energy transition as we look forward to COP28 and the really important conversations that will happen there.

I’d like to start by framing my remarks in the context of some speech – a speech that I know many of you will have watched, which was Secretary Blinken’s remarks a couple of weeks ago, around the corner from us at Johns Hopkins SAIS, and his focus there on the U.S. effort to reinforce our alliances and partnerships that are really the – really critically important challenge that we face in achieving progress on some of the global issues that are so important to all of our allies and partners around the world, but especially in the developing world, several of which are the responsibility of my bureau at the State Department – for instance, energy, energy access, energy security, and then also, critically, all of the issues around the climate crisis and our efforts to build an energy economy that is cleaner and greener and more sustainable.

We’re obviously investing in a big way here at home on these issues, but we’re also very, very focused on how we work with our allies in this regard.  I’d like to put a spotlight on a couple of the priorities for my team in the ENR Bureau over the course of this fall.  One, of course, has necessarily been Ukraine, as we continue our work to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and help the Ukrainian people to address the damage that Vladimir Putin has inflicted on the country and on the country’s energy grid, including with more missile attacks in the east targeting infrastructure just this morning.

We continue a very strong focus on the G7+ coordination group that Secretary Blinken launched exactly a year ago, last November in Bucharest at the NATO ministerial, but really on an almost constant basis in engagements around the world.  We’ve been very pleased over the past week to host here in Washington Energy Minister Halushchenko, and then just the day before yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenk.  Had opportunity also to meet with some Ukrainian parliamentarians who were here ahead of the Halifax conference, and just the other day, also a remote meeting with the CEO of Naftogaz.

But in all of those discussions, we’ve been focused on two agendas.  One is the work we’re doing over the short term to help Ukraine build resilience in its energy system as they come into another winter where everybody is expecting a campaign of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, but also to do all that we can work working with Congress to support Ukraine’s vision of building a future energy system which is fully integrated with Europe and aligned with European standards, decentralized, more resilient, much greener.

So this is a critically important task.  I was up at – honored to speak before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week on these issues, and would put a particular spotlight on the priority that we’re placing on the National Security supplemental and the Ukraine elements of that.  And we’re very grateful for the support that we’ve enjoyed from Congress in that regard.

Europe also remains a priority.  I’ve had the opportunity in recent weeks to be back in Europe twice, both to Madrid and then separately to Bucharest and to Rome.  In Bucharest, I was part of the U.S. delegation for the Three Seas Summit.  In Italy, I was talking a lot with the Italians ahead of their upcoming G7 presidency with a focus on their very strong interest in the work we’re doing together in Ukraine, in our shared efforts around European energy security, helping to further address the energy gap which has been created by Putin’s weaponization of his energy resources, and the impressive and critically important turn that Europe has made away from Russian energy supplies over the past several months.

I think we’re confident Europe is coming into this winter in a much better position compared to where it was a year ago in terms of gas reserves, in terms of Europe’s security against further weaponization actions by Russia, but we’re – we are not complacent about any of this.

I would also put a spotlight on our work with Japan.  I was particularly pleased a couple of weeks ago to be out at Stanford at the Hoover Institution, which hosted us for the second U.S.-Japan Strategic Energy Dialogue.  This was a really important venue that brought together a number of elements of the U.S. Government with counterparts – Director General Kihara from METI but also from the foreign ministry, and really, really importantly from our two private sectors.  Japan plays a critically important role in the global energy picture, it’s a major energy buyer from the United States, but it is also a country with whom the U.S. is working very closely to accelerate energy transition, especially across the Asia-Pacific and in Southeast Asia.

It’s also a country whose companies, whether through the partnership between GE and Hitachi or the work that Japanese firms are doing in areas like critical minerals and carbon management – a country whose companies are playing a critical role in the global energy transition.  So I was really pleased by the quality of that discussion as well and in particular the high-level participation from both Japanese and American corporates who are part of this larger energy alliance between our two countries.

We’ve done a lot of work recently – and I will do more in travel to the UK right after Thanksgiving – in support of the Mineral Security Partnership.  I would particularly put a spotlight on the initiative we have launched through the State Department’s Global Partnership Office with SAFE, an NGO here in Washington that works with the private sector globally to address issues around battery minerals in particular and all aspects of energy security, but with a particular focus on the issues around the energy transition.

I want to also mention our recent energy dialogue with Norway, a country that has become Europe’s largest gas supplier, but also a country that is a significant critical mineral supplier to the United States, a country which shares the American vision of de-carbonization of our fossil energy sector, and a country which is an ally and a partner in working to address the disruption of global energy markets that Vladimir Putin has imposed on all of us.

I want to put a particular flag also on the work that we are doing in the runup to COP, especially for my bureau, supporting what Secretary Kerry and the special envoy’s office is doing to address issues around the fossil energy sector, to address questions of methane abatement, carbon management, recognizing that we will be in Dubai for COP28.  So a country which is a – like the United States, a large fossil energy producer, but also a country that has exercised leadership in devoting resources to the energy transition.

And then the last recent activity that I would put a spotlight on:  I had the opportunity last week to be up in Ottawa, was really pleased to be able to have conversations with the – with NRCan, the energy minister including Minster Wilkinson, but also with our partners at Global Canada.  Canada is a really unique energy partner for the United States.  We, of course, have the largest energy relationship in the world.  Our companies are deeply intertwined with each other.  But we are also working together on the energy transition.  I was delighted when I was in Ottawa to spend a lot of time talking about critical minerals, an area where Canadian companies are not just producers, not just domestic processors, but also have a global footprint, and so share our concerns about the concentration of supply chains, in particular in the People’s Republic of China.

But Canada is also moving forward jointly with the United States in areas like carbon management, carbon sequestration, and is a critical part of our overall alliance in support of Ukraine, and lastly, has been a partner in the area of developing civil nuclear power as part of our overall climate and energy strategy, and importantly, Canada and Ontario will host what is now likely to be North America’s first new small modular reactor, a critical part of our overall strategy for meeting our nuclear buildout and climate goals.

So let me stop there and just welcome questions in any direction, but also underline how focused I am on continuing to deepen these partnerships and develop opportunities for us to move ahead jointly in a way that meets our global climate goals but also addressing the critical issues of energy security.

MODERATOR:  Thank you, sir.  So we’ll open it up for questions.  If you’re online joining us on Zoom, reminder to change your name to your name, country, and outlet.  Raise your hand virtually on Zoom or in the room.  If I call on you, remember we don’t have handheld microphones, so just speak and introduce yourself with country and outlet.  We’ll start here with Ukraine.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  Ukrainian television correspondent.  Mr. Pyatt, very nice to see you.  Thank you for this opportunity, and thanks to Foreign Press Center for organizing this.  You briefly mentioned Ukraine and the necessity of the resilience, and my question is:  What is your plan, what is your vision?  What might be done?  Because it’s a lot of fear – it’s a lot of concerns that this winter, as you told in the Congress, might be much worse than the previous one, so is it about protection of the power grid?  Is it a bit more about the rebuilding?  How do you see this process, and to – do we have a roadmap?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  Thank you, Dmytry*, and I would say it’s about both things.  Of course, we’re directly focused on how to build resilience through this winter.  Vladimir Putin has sought to weaponize the winter and to use the winter as a tool to break the will of the Ukrainian people.  I know he will fail.

This is why we have the G7+ coordination group, to mobilize resources.  The United States has already brought to bear more than $520 million in energy sector assistance to Ukraine.  We know that we have another $500 million in the pipeline, and we are using these resources both to address short-term needs – so sourcing new transformers, new generator capacity to rebuild what Putin has destroyed – but also working very, very closely – and this was a huge part of my conversation with Deputy Prime Minister Svyrydenko and with Minister Halushchenko – to help support the Ukrainian Government’s own vision for building a future energy system which is green and resilient and fully integrated with Europe.

And I will say, as somebody who has spent a lot of my career working in and around Ukraine, it is so deeply impressive to see the determination of the Ukrainian people to build back better and to ensure that the future energy system that Ukraine is investing in is fully aligned with Ukraine’s expectation to become a member of the European Union.  And in that regard, I was also delighted, like all of us in the administration, to see the clear signals recently from EU President von der Leyen on Ukraine and Moldova’s EU accession processes, and we are going to be partners in that effort every step of the way.

And I’m also quite heartened by the fact that the European Union is stepping up on these same issues.  My principal deputy, Laura Lochman, was in Warsaw earlier this week for the ReBuild Ukraine conference – hosted by Poland but jointly with the energy ministry, and supported by American companies like GE.  So everybody is trying to look to both getting through this winter but also, critically, what it looks like the day after – after Ukraine’s victory – and how we help Ukraine to build the kind of energy security that your citizens so richly deserve.

MODERATOR:  Okay, we’ll stay in Ukraine, then we’ll head out.

QUESTION:  Thank you so much.  Thank you for doing this.  Iaroslav Dovgopol, Ukrinform news agency, Ukraine.  Sir, you said a couple words about U.S. supports to support Ukraine energy sector, but now we see how the supplemental funding request is stuck in Congress.  Could you please elaborate how does it affect current projects of restoration and modernization of Ukraine energy sector, especially now that we head into the winter?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  So let me break that into three quick points.  One is I think the American people are with Ukraine, and I say that based on my discussions with Congress, my discussions around the world.  We have an important budget debate that has to unfold right now.  The White House and the administration have been very clear on this, and I was really proud to be up before the Senate last week jointly with my counterpart Jim O’Brien from the European Bureau, but also, critically, my partner Erin McKee, who is the USAID assistant administrator for the region.

What I heard from Republicans and Democrats in that engagement was continued commitment to Ukraine and an understanding of the national security stakes that we have in Ukraine’s success, and also an understanding that in the context of this war with Russia, energy is just as much part of the Russian arsenal as are the drones that Putin is raining down on Ukrainian cities.  So we do need to move ahead in that area.

We are also very encouraged by what we see from the European Union, and as I said before, the Senate.  The volume of energy sector assistance from Europe has exceeded that that the United States has provided, so our European allies are carrying their load.  Japan is another example.  Japan has been a fantastic partner and a fantastic leader on these Ukraine issues, something that I discussed at that dialogue at Stanford that I talked about.

And then finally, I would make the point that in the energy sector especially, the private sector and private companies are going to be playing an absolutely vital role.  I was discussing that just today with the President’s special envoy for Ukrainian reconstruction, former Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.  My team is doing everything we can to support her in helping to lay the foundation for that private sector revival and that private sector interest.  I mentioned GE’s presence at the ReBuild Ukraine conference just now.  We’re very grateful for the role that GE Vernova has played as part of this larger effort.  But there are many other U.S. energy companies that I talk to regularly on Ukraine, issues that are looking to support and are looking to be part of the construction of this new European energy system that I talked about.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  We’ll go to Benji.

QUESTION:  I’m Benji Hyer, Feature Story News, an agency that provides for English broadcasters across the world.

You speak of America’s intent to address issues of fossil fuels, especially with COP28.  We’re traveling down to an area in Louisiana where there’s going to be a potential huge gas export being – building being built, a major project.  Doesn’t have to specify on that because that’s quite unique, but I’m wondering how projects like that, which will be huge emitters, square with America’s commitment to tackle climate change, setting an example to the world whilst also building major things like that in your backyard?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  No, it’s a really important question, and it’s one that I know is going to be front and center at COP28, and I would emphasize a couple of things.

And let me start with the good news that I think doesn’t get enough attention, which is the point that the director general of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, has been making recently, which is globally, the energy transition is happening much faster than people predicted.  That’s good news.  It’s happening because the cost of renewables is coming down.  It’s happening because innovation is proceeding apace.

When we were in San Francisco in the Bay Area with our Japanese allies, I had the opportunity to spend a day in Silicon Valley visiting an American battery startup called Lyten, which is developing a whole new chemistry for long-storage batteries to manage renewable energy.  That kind of story is repeating itself over and over again, and that’s why Fatih Birol has been optimistic about the energy transition.  We have to do more and we especially have to make sure that the developing world isn’t left behind.

Because as we accelerate the energy transition here in the United States – and obviously our domestic energy system is transforming before our eyes, supercharged by the Inflation Reduction Act and the $36 billion a year of federal spending that that is channeling towards energy transition – but we also have to own up to the fact that the United States, because of Russia’s marginalization of itself, is now the world’s largest LNG exporter.  And we’re going to have that status for years and years to come.  That gas has played an absolutely critical role over the past year in helping to address European energy security, to fill the hole created by Putin’s weaponization of his energy resources – 70 percent of U.S. gas exports over the past year have gone to the European Union – and we see that as part and parcel of our alliance.

As an administration, we are committed to produce that fossil energy in the least climate-damaging way possible, but we also are working around the world.  So this is why there’s been such a strong focus, for instance, on the Global Methane Pledge and the effort to track, monitor, and then contain fugitive gases in the fossil energy production process; to measure those emissions so that consumer countries, whether in the European Union or Japan, can say to the market we want to see the carbon burden that that gas carries with it, and then helping to phase out of that gas as quickly as possible.

In the United States, of course, the transition from coal to gas as a fuel source has played a significant role in the lowering of our overall carbon footprint.  And we think, as we head into COP28, a particular priority, especially as we work with the developing world, especially as we work in Asia, is how to accelerate de-coalification.  That is, avoid the trap of another 20 or 30 years of coal-based power, which is going to overwhelm all of the progress that we’re making here in the United States, in North America, or we’re making in Europe on energy transition and moving to a fully renewable energy system.

So we have to do two things at once.  We think this is totally within reach.  And here too, I think the voice of UAE as the host of COP is particularly important.  Last January when I was in Abu Dhabi, I had the opportunity to visit one of the world’s first carbon-neutral steel manufacturing facilities.  All of the CO2 from this – from that ADNOC-owned steel facility is captured and then reinjected underground.

And we have been very encouraged by the support and the commitment that UAE has demonstrated to building an international coalition, because – to sort of finish up on your question where I started out in my opening remarks, we can’t do this alone.  The United States is only going to be successful in meeting our climate goals to the extent we bring along the rest of the world.

So I actually don’t see a contradiction between the fact that the United States continues to have a robust energy sector, because we are working as hard as we can, as I said, to de-carbonize that sector, to manage the emissions, to develop new opportunities for technologies like the production of clean hydrogen.  And you have seen what the Department of Energy has done with its hydrogen hubs, some of which will use gas as a source and then reinject the CO2 from that gas in order to produce blue hydrogen.  But we also have green hydrogen projects in the western United States.  We have pink hydrogen in Pennsylvania, which is coming from nuclear power.  So that will be part of the equation.  Carbon sequestration will be part of the equation.  It was very much part of my discussions with the Japanese recently.  And then all the innovation that’s still to come as a result of the capital that the Inflation Reduction Act has unlocked.

I would also note here one point I should have made on Japan.  I was very encouraged in our discussions at Palo Alto to hear from my Japanese colleagues about everything that’s happening in Tokyo as a result of the Japanese GX law, or the Green Transformation law.  This is a Inflation-Reduction-Act-like investment over multiple years to help clean the Japanese domestic energy system as well.  But Japan is not going to hit its climate goals without gas.  So we see an important role for that in the overall agenda that we’re trying to pursue of meeting our Paris climate targets and net zero.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  Before we jump online, we’ll stay in the room.  We’ll go to (inaudible).

QUESTION:  (Inaudible) Television, which is a public broadcaster of Türkiye.  It’s good to see you again, Mr. Pyatt.  Thank you very much for the briefing.  I have two questions, if I may.  One is about the Caucasus and the Central Asia.  So first of all, can you please tell us the role and the importance of Türkiye and Azerbaijan on being an energy hub, and for the energy security for Europe?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  Yeah, well, thank you.  And I actually had the opportunity to make some remarks on exactly this issue this week when I participated in a Black Sea energy forum jointly hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Türkiye center and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.  And I was really honored to speak right after Energy Minister Bayraktar, and I underlined there the U.S. interest in continuing to develop our energy dialogue, our energy cooperation with Türkiye, and especially the important role that is being played by Türkiye not just on fossil energy – and we could talk about the critical role of the southern gas corridor, the role that that played, especially in helping to ensure European energy security after the – after 2022; but also the investments that Türkiye is making in renewables, a country which I lived right next to for six years.  So I have a very direct sense of the enormous potential that Türkiye has to do even more in terms of wind and solar, not to mention geothermal.

So we have a very robust energy cooperation agenda with Türkiye, and as I said – and I very much look forward to seeing Minister Bayraktar and continuing my work also with the Turkish foreign ministry on all the work we have to do to both address European energy security, taking advantage of the investments that Türkiye has made in FSRUs, in regasification capacity, but also the further energy transition that we expect Türkiye to be part of.

QUESTION:  Historical and strategic relations between Central Asian countries – the Turkic countries, I mean – and with the Organization of Turkic States, the energy cooperation is increasing between Türkiye and the Turkic countries there.  And the United States has a similar approach to that region with C5+1.  So how do you describe the cooperation between Türkiye, the United States, and the Central Asian countries, the Turkic countries?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  Oh, thank you for raising that, because it’s a really important question.  I had the opportunity to join President Biden and the five Central Asian political leaders for the first C5+1 summit meeting that took place on the magins of the UN General Assembly.  And it was really heartening for me to see how central the issues that I’m responsible for – of energy security, energy transition – were to the larger conversation.  I was just speaking yesterday with the CEO of KMG, the Kazakh state oil company.  We have been very, very engaged especially with our partners in Turkmenistan and in Kazakhstan on the issues I talked about earlier around the Global Methane Pledge.  These are two countries that have the potential to make a significant contribution to our decarbonization agenda by signing up to the methane pledge, and then working with us bilaterally, but also multilaterally, to address the carbon intensity of the fossil energy that they produce.

And I think I see Türkiye and Ankara playing an especially important role in the immediate Caspian region – for instance, as we work together with Turkmenistan.  Turkmenistan is the world’s fourth largest methane emitter, largely because much of its fossil energy infrastructure is unchanged from the Soviet Union days.  So if we can tackle that four – that number-four emitter, that will make significant progress towards meeting our 1.5 degree target for global climate change.  So we need to – we need all the – we need to mobilize all the resources that we can find jointly to address these issues.

And as I’ve said in different settings, we need to do two things at once:  We need to address energy security, and that is particularly challenging in Europe because of what Vladimir Putin has done; but we also need to figure out how we accelerate our climate goals.  And Türkiye has a combination of large industry, it’s a significant economy – a part of our Major Economies Forum – but it’s also a country that has an especially important role in a region that I have worked in in the past, which is squeezed between a couple of giants in Russia and in China, where it is looking to diversify relationships.

MODERATOR:  Okay, I think we’ll stay in the region.  We’ll go to Greece next, and then we’ll go online.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Mr. Pyatt.  It’s Katerina Sokou with Greek daily Kathimerini.  I am wondering are your energy diplomacy priorities affected by the war against Hamas and any geopolitical complications that this may create in the Middle East, especially as it regards to our part of the world in the Eastern Mediterranean and the energy projects and partnerships that we have built there with – between Israel, Cyprus, and Greece in the past decade?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  Yeah, thank you, Katerina, for raising the question and let me make the first principle up front, which is that we are, of course, vitally focused on how to avoid the spreading of the war between Israel and Hamas and how to address the urgent humanitarian issues in Gaza.

I will say, on the issues that I am responsible for around energy, the good news is that thus far markets have not been disrupted by the war, and in fact I was pleased to see just this week that Chevron announced the resumption of exports from the Tamar platform offshore of Gaza, which plays an important role in Israel’s energy security but also in the energy security especially of Egypt.  So being able to restart that platform was an important energy development.

More broadly, I would make this point:  I think that the terrorist attacks of October 7th really put into stark relief the two pathways that the region confronts today.  One is the pathway of economic progress and regional cooperation – a lot of the work that Greece has helped to facilitate and to lead.  The other pathway is the pathway reflected in the Hamas terror attacks, which it leads towards violence and terrible human loss.

We remain very strongly committed to the vision of regional cooperation that stands behind, for instance, the 3+1 dialogue between Greece, Israel, Cyprus, and the United States, the work that we’ve done especially on energy.  And I was especially pleased a couple of weeks ago in Madrid to be able to catch up with Deputy Minister Alexandra Sdoukou and to reaffirm our very strong interest in the 3+1 framework.

But we see this as not a destination but a building block, because we’re also very supportive of enhanced cooperation over the – during – looking to the future between, for instance, Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt, opportunities for electricity interconnectors to bring renewable power from Egypt and North Africa to European consumers.  And I expect we’ll have some conversations about this at COP because part of the – part of what makes that Egypt-Greece equation work is the investment that UAE and Masdar has been discussing in Egyptian renewable capacity.

So we – the vision is very clear; the commitment is there.  And I think especially in the context where Europe is looking to both accelerate its own energy transition and to fill the Russia-sized hole in its traditional gas and fossil energy supplies, what we’ve been doing in the Eastern Mediterranean, what Europe and the United States are doing together in North Africa to capture methane in Egypt, in Libya, in Algeria, and to bring those molecules to market, is more important than every before.

MODERATOR:  Okay, let’s go online.  We have some questions online.  Let’s go to Stefanie Bolzen.  If you can, unmute yourself and turn your camera on, if possible, and ask your question, Stefanie.

QUESTION:  Hello, can you see and hear me?

MODERATOR:  We can hear you, yes, and see you.

QUESTION:  Okay, great, great.  Thank you for the briefing.  A very short question.  Why are the negotiations between the U.S. and the EU on sustainable steel and aluminum and on critical minerals moving so slowly?  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  So I’ll leave some of this to my colleagues at USTR who in particular are responsible for the steel issues, but I would also take issue with your characterization of moving slowly on our cooperation with Europe on these issues around especially clean energy and clean energy supply chains.  Frankly, I mentioned at the beginning my own travel.  I’ve been in Europe more than any other part of the world in this job.

I had the opportunity when I was in Madrid, for instance, not just to spend time with Spain’s energy minister, but also to have what must be the tenth conversation with my commission counterpart Ditte Juul-Jorgensen, the director-general for energy.  And we were really pleased a few weeks later to host Ditte here in Washington, D.C. for discussions about how we are going to work together on all of the issues that I’ve been talking about – how we continue to work together on energy security, on cleaning up fossil energy supply chains.  But the critical mineral issues are absolutely central.  We are very pleased with the quality of cooperation that we enjoy with the European Union on our Mineral Security Partnership, where of course the EU and multiple EU member-states are very strong participants.  In fact, the first new member that we brought into the MSP was Italy, and the Italians have told me that critical minerals and cooperation on critical mineral supply chains will be a priority for them in their G7 presidency.

I had a very similar conversation when I was in Madrid, because Spain, of course, is Europe’s second-largest auto producer and has a huge interest in the issues around electric vehicles, and you can’t do electric vehicles without critical mineral supply chains.  So I see our cooperation with Europe on especially these issues as uniquely deep, and I see a very strong alignment between American companies, European companies, the investment that European companies are making here in the United States in our own energy transition, and likewise the investments that American companies are making in Europe.

And to give you just two quick examples, when I was in Madrid I had the opportunity to travel for the morning to a town called Puertollano, which is in the middle of the Meseta, but also has Europe’s largest green hydrogen manufacturing facility.  It’s a real example of what could happen in the future.  It uses the green hydrogen that’s manufactured there to produce green fertilizer at the – at a Fertiberia fertilizer manufacturing facility.  But the electrolyzers which are the heart of that manufacturing facility come from the United States.

And in the same way, I had the opportunity earlier this week to talk to a Japanese executive who was here in the U.S. for our Indonesia state visit, and he was describing the work that he is doing, his company is doing in Georgia and South Carolina to manufacture battery cells which go into BMW and Mercedes automobiles which are produced – EVs which are produced here in the United States for the American market.

So we have a uniquely deep and cooperative agenda on these issues around energy transition.  We appreciate the leadership that the European Union has demonstrated in this area, and we are trying to find ways to build a policy architecture that allows for our companies to do even more beyond the billions of dollars of trade and investment that are already flowing across the Atlantic in this area.

MODERATOR:  Okay, and we’ll stay online for one more question from Igor.  Igor, if you could unmute yourself, turn your camera on, ask your question, please.

QUESTION:  Yeah, good afternoon, gentlemen.  Can you hear me?

MODERATOR:  We can hear you, we can see you.

QUESTION:  Good.  Couple of questions; first of all, about price cap on Russian oil.  So what are the U.S. perspectives to develop it further, taking into account that Russia strives to successfully develop its own tools to deliver energy to global markets and bypass Western sanctions and Western restrictions?

And the second one, it is about the APEC.  Sorry, I’m here, so I have to ask.  Do you see that Asia-Pacific economies and people have become more vulnerable and insecure, impacted by the U.S. sanctions policies against Russian energy sector?  Are there any efforts from the U.S. administration in this regard?  Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  So let me start on your first question about the price cap, and I expect you probably saw the Department of Treasury press release which was published just a few minutes ago regarding new sanctions against three additional maritime companies that have been found to be operating in circumvention of the price cap.  I think that reflects how American authorities, working with our price cap coalition partners, are absolutely committed to enforcing the price cap and to doing everything we possibly can to drive down Russia’s fossil energy revenue, which the Kremlin is using to prosecute an illegal invasion and a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The policy is working.  I would simply note the fact that last month, October, Russia’s oil and gas revenue was down $4 billion from what it was a year before, and that reflects the price that Putin and the Kremlin are paying for his unjustified act of aggression and the systematic violation of international law that Russia is engaged in through its invasion.

On the question of Asia, I would simply note first of all the very intense cooperation we have with our Japanese allies on all of these issues around the price cap and our sanctions regime.  Japan, of course, is winding up a very successful year of G7 presidency, when they have systematically exercised leadership on these issues.  And in fact, I was in Tokyo last December on the day that the EU promulgated its regulations for the implementation of the price cap, and I know exactly how intensively at every step of the way we have consulted with our Japanese allies.

There is obviously a cost that the international community has paid for Russia’s weaponization of its energy resources.  I see that when I’m traveling in and talking with partners from Africa.  I see that when I’m in South Asia.  You see the impact that Russia’s actions have had on the price of fertilizer globally, the impact that Russia’s blockade of the Black Sea has had on global agriculture prices.

But we all need to be crystal-clear that the only reason this is happening is because one man in the Kremlin chose to invade – with no justification whatsoever – a sovereign, democratic country solely because of the choice that the Ukrainian people themselves had made to deepen their relationship with the European Union.  It’s a great tragedy for Ukraine.  It’s also a great tragedy for Russia.  But it’s one that’s going to exact a cost on Russia and the Russian economy for years and years to come.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  And we’ll finish with the last question from Japan, please.

QUESTION:  This is Leah from the Asahi Shimbun, the Japanese newspaper.  So the Japanese Government has invested in ammonia-coal co-firing, which it sees as an abated fossil fuel technology, and this policy has been criticized by some.  How does the U.S. Government evaluate this strategy?  And does the U.S. Government consider this co-firing of ammonia abated fossil fuels or unabated fossil fuels?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  So thank you.  It’s a really important question and one that we actually talked about quite a bit in our Energy Security Dialogue with colleagues in Palo Alto.  And I think I will say a couple of things on your specific questions.

The first is my counterpart, Director General Kihara, and the rest of the team from METI made very clear that Japan is developing this technology as part of its strategy for decarbonization of its economy.  This is not about prolonging the life of coal power in Japan.  It is about finding a pathway to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy that Japan understandably needs to drive its industrial economy.

Japan is in a very different situation from the United States, and we understand that.  We see our energy alliance with Tokyo as part of our broader security alliance, and we understand that whereas the United States enjoys energy abundance because of our geography, because of the resource endowment that we enjoy, Japan does not have those resources.  So we’re working together on new energy pathways.  We had an intensive conversation, for instance, about floating offshore wind, where Japan has fantastic and so far underdeveloped resources.  We talked about the possibilities in the area of geothermal.  And we talked a lot about the critical role, as I talked about, that Japan and Japanese industry are going to play in de-risking our supply chains from overdependence on China.

So I think  we – on the question you asked about co-firing, we will follow the science and we’ll follow the numbers.  And that’s exactly what I heard from my Japanese colleagues as well.  This is a new technology.  They are committed, as are we, to our Paris climate goals and to seeking to lower the carbon intensity of Japan’s economy as fast as possible.  I don’t worry about Japanese intent in that regard, and I have great confidence in the technological sophistication of Japan’s approach to these issues.

I think what I – what I also think is really important is that we continue our dialogue with Japan on how we work together across the wider Asia-Pacific region, because Japanese companies and Japanese industry plays a really unique role, some of which is formalized in our partnership.  We have a program called JUMP, which you’re probably familiar with, where Japan and the United States are working together in the Mekong region.  We cooperate as part of the Asia-Pacific Quad.  Japanese companies play a critical role in India.  And India is a great example because it’s a country which is terribly affected by climate change.  It’s also a country that will completely swamp all the progress that we’re going to make in the United States and in Japan on energy transition; if we don’t help India to decarbonize its energy system as it provides power to 1.4 billion human beings, we’re not going to meet our climate goals.

So I would – what I would put a spotlight on is the positive character of the U.S.-Japan partnership on these issues, some of which happens between our laboratories, some of which happens between our bureaucrats – people like me – and a lot of which happens between our companies.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  And we’ll end it – oh, go ahead.


QUESTION:  Could you tell us a little about how the administration is monitoring the recently made deal with Venezuela?  And are you prepared to reimpose the sanctions that were lifted if the Maduro administration does not fulfill their (inaudible)?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  Yeah, so let me – let me address that this way, and I want to be very careful, because the  most important thing to know about our sanctions regime in Venezuela is I’m not responsible for it.  That is to say, it is not driven by energy policy.  It is driven by the Maduro regime’s political choices.  And those policies are intended to incentivize a choice by the Maduro regime to open its political system and to provide Venezuelan citizens with the kind of democratic opportunity that others in Latin America enjoy.

So I will leave it at that, especially on the speculative question about what happens if the Maduro regime does not take advantage of the pathway that the recent sanctions relaxation has provided.  But what I would emphasize is that the issues I’m responsible for around energy and energy markets are not the driver of this.  The driver is in Caracas.

MODERATOR:  We’ll go ahead and stop the Q&A there.  Thank you, Assistant Secretary.  I don’t know if you have any last thoughts you want to share with everyone.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY PYATT:  No.  Well, just first of all, I appreciate the opportunity to have this conversation.  I think as the questions and the discussion reflected, I and my team at the ENR Bureau have an incredibly broad global scope in our responsibilities, but there are some unifying threads that I think are really important.

One is energy security and the disruption that has been caused by Vladimir Putin and Russia’s actions over the past year and a half, but also the fantastic opportunities we see around the energy transition.  And I talked about that a little bit in the case of Japan.  I talked about it in the case of Türkiye.  It’s hugely true in the case of – in the case of Greece, but also Ukraine.

And I think one of the things that makes me hopeful about Ukraine over the long term is its own – first of all, the determination and resilience of the Ukrainian people and their intent to be successful participants in the European Union, but also the opportunity that Ukraine has to be part of the energy solution for the European Union.  As Europe seeks to fill that Russia gap in its energy mix, Ukraine has wind potential, it has solar potential, it has nuclear – a large nuclear industry.  So Ukraine, like all of the other countries that we’ve talked about this morning, plays an important role in the global energy transition, and the Biden administration’s leadership here domestically at home, which I am convinced is opening up new pathways for energy transition globally, both innovating but also driving down the cost of renewable technology in a way that makes the case for energy transition even more compelling.

MODERATOR:  Thank you so much, sir.  Thank you for being so gracious with your time today, and thank you to all of the journalists joining us in person and online.  That ends the briefing today.  Thank you.


U.S. Department of State

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