Thank you so much. I would have loved to have join you in Athens in person today but I’m in Japan where we are launching an important energy security dialogue with our Japanese allies. I think it’s incredibly important that you all have gathered this year in Greece which I saw become such an important energy hub for the whole region and a partner for the United States thanks in large part to the growing role of LNG. Over six years in Greece, I saw the transformative power of the energy transition and also the importance of the work the United States has done over many years to support the diversification of energy sources and routes. Now as Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, I’m continuing this work at a global level.
As you spend this week discussing the future of the LNG market, I’d like to offer a few perspectives from the point of view of the U.S. government. First, what has leapt out so strongly for me during my first few months in this role is how drastically the geopolitics of the global energy market are changing.
Putin’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, Russia’s weaponization of its energy resources, and willingness to target civilian infrastructure is going to ripple across the international market for years to come. Russia today is clearly no longer a reliable energy partner, and there is, I believe, a permanent decoupling occurring between Russia and its former customers in Europe. This creates a Russia sized hole in the global energy market, which is both a challenge, and an opportunity, for the global LNG market, and for the energy transition.
Through my travels, I found great appreciation for what the Biden administration has done since February 24th to mobilize our energy producers and bring as much American LNG as possible to the global market to substitute for Russian gas. In 2022, we provided more than 50 percent of the EU’s LNG imports. U.S. LNG exports to Europe and the UK nearly tripled compared to the same period in 2021. At the same time, we are supporting projects with our allies that help to mitigate the energy supply challenges caused by Russia’s war.
In October we celebrated the commencement of the IGB pipeline, which will transport regasified LNG from the new FSRU in Alexandroupoli and enable new LNG and pipeline gas supplies to reach Bulgaria, Romania, and beyond. Ten new FSRUs in Europe in the coming years will add more import capacity and more opportunities to diversify the continent’s gas supplies. I’m glad that this week, many of you will visit the Revithoussa terminal near Athens, which has played a key role in establishing Greece as an energy hub and supporting neighbors like Bulgaria and North Macedonia.
A second perspective I’d like to share is that, having just returned from COP 27 in Egypt, there is strong, global resolve on the importance of energy transition. For example, 150 countries have now joined us in the Global Methane Pledge to slash emissions 30 percent by 2030. Tackling methane is the fastest, most effective way to reduce near-term warming and keep the target of 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach.
Along with Norway, we launched Green Shipping Challenges, with countries, ports, and companies announcing more than 40 major steps aimed at decarbonization of international shipping, an industry that it so important to Athens and to Greece’s international identity. It’s fantastic that the group gathered this week is looking at how the LNG industry can innovate to decarbonize its supply chain. This also will be critical as we strive toward our shared climate goals.
I want to underline that our two main agendas – ensuring energy security and advancing energy transition – are not in conflict with each other. They’re mutually reinforcing, and we have work to do on both simultaneously.
Energy security is reinforced by the success of our energy transition, and our governments and companies are able to do two things at the same time. We need to work together, as the United States has done over many decades, to build an international energy system in which we can advance our economies and deliver results for citizens.
We need to use fossil resources more efficiently, including by capturing and storing or reusing greenhouse gas emissions from those resources. At the same time, we need to accelerate the transition to ensure long-term delivery of clean, affordable, and reliable energy. The United States is committed to supporting this energy transition, and I cannot emphasize enough how much the passage of our Inflation Reduction Act, the IRA, is going to reinforce that commitment.
The IRA’s $370 billion in resources will supercharge the energy transformation in the United States and indeed around the world. We want to work with key partners and allies in ensuring that the IRA helps us build resilient, secure, and reliable supply chains.
In addition to incentivizing clean energy generation and supply chains, the IRA will expand support for decarbonization technologies, including clean hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, as well as incentives to reduce methane emissions. These technologies will benefit us all by reducing the carbon intensity of the LNG value chain over time.
I know that this rapid transition is going to produce challenges for many sectors of our economies, but I think it is also an incredibly exciting and important opportunity. Natural gas producers and LNG shippers have a chance to lead on decarbonization of some of our most difficult-to-abate industries.
So with this, I wish the organizers and participants every success in this week’s summit. I look forward to continuing these important discussions during my future engagements with many of you. And I want to say thank you, especially to all my friends in Greece, we miss you very much, Efcharisto poli.