Good afternoon Nicholas, industry colleagues. It’s wonderful to be back in New York City and to join you here for Capital Link in my current role, managing the geopolitics of America’s energy diplomacy.

I’ve found it exceptionally useful to hear some of the different perspectives in this morning’s presentations, especially at this historically disruptive moment in the global energy trade. So a huge thanks, Nicholas, for the invitation, and I really appreciate the conversations that we’ve been having today.

During my time as U.S. Ambassador to Greece, bilateral cooperation in the maritime domain increased dramatically encompassing defense, security, shipbuilding, and of course energy sectors.

Now in my new role I’m glad to continue my engagement with the shipping sector at a time when the geopolitics of global energy is more complicated and dynamic than it’s ever been.

As Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine enters its second year, it’s clearer than ever that global buyers will never again view Russia as a reliable energy supplier. The disruptions caused by the war have increased the prominence of the shipping industry, as the United States has mobilized record levels of LNG to dispatch to Europe, and as our G7 allies work together to phase out Russian oil and petroleum products and to maintain an effective price cap.

The maritime sector is going to continue to play a critical role in ensuring global energy security.

Russia is trying to disrupt this, for instance, by establishing a ghost fleet of ships to move its petroleum products. These mystery vessels are of questionable provenance, quality, and safety, and should be avoided.

At the same time, we are all confronting, as the United Nations reminded us this morning, a global climate crisis, and all of us in government and industry need to accelerate our efforts to move towards cleaner forms of energy, including, of course, American LNG.

The maritime sector will also play a key role in the global energy transition from reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions through the use of low and near zero emission fuels, to building an international transportation and trade network for new forms of green energy and the critical minerals that drive it, including clean hydrogen and its various derivatives, abated carbon, and of course a lot more copper and battery minerals to enable the electrification of our transport systems.

These two lines of effort — energy security and energy transition — are complementary. We can and must advance both at the same time.

That reality was highlighted for me just this Friday when I was in Seoul for our Ninth Energy Dialogue with Korea, and all the maritime supply issues I just mentioned were front and center.

If anything, Russia’s war against Ukraine has strengthened global resolve to prevail in both of these efforts. It is only through a clean energy transition that we can ensure energy security, addressing the urgent need for a sustainable future while preventing malign actors from again threatening our energy resources.

While we continue to help our partners and allies secure reliable energy supplies from trusted sources, the United States is also strongly committed to working with the shipping industry on its own energy transition.

As many of you know, greenhouse gas emissions for the shipping sector are still rising. If shipping were a country, it would be one of the tenth largest emitters globally — a point that President Biden highlighted at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh last year.

The State Department wants to work with you, our industry partners, to reduce emissions, and we are engaged within the IMO and through several multilateral initiatives to do so.

At COP26, the United States joined other high emission countries by signing the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors and the Declaration on Zero Emissions Shipping by 2050.

To expand on these commitments and to help place the sector on a pathway to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, the United States and Norway launched the Green Shipping Challenge at COP27. This challenge encourages governments, ports and companies to prepare commitments to spur the transition in shipping. Our partners have answered this call, announcing more than 40 initiatives, such as the development of zero emission bunkering and recharging capabilities, and the development of renewable energy infrastructure.

These initiatives also include programs to demonstrate and deploy low or zero emission vessels and to launch new shipping corridors across the sea.

These initiatives are coming from global companies like Maersk and Amazon, which issued demand signals for zero emission ocean shipping, and the American Bureau of Shipping, which published guidance on green shipping corridors. Announcements have also included protocols like the Australia-Singapore Green Economy Agreement and the Belgian-Sweden Green Corridor.

For our part, the United States has announced among other things: the development of the first U.S. maritime decarbonization strategy; creating new bilateral work streams to help facilitate green shipping corridors with the Republic of Korea, Canada, and the United Kingdom; and a new program to help facilitate green shipping corridors for developing countries, including among the Small Island Developing States.

In fact, at this month’s Our Oceans Conference in Panama we announced the first two countries to engage under this project: Panama and Egypt.

The annual Our Oceans Conference is an important forum for dialogue between governments and industry and for fostering new programs. At this year’s conference, the United States made 77 announcements, from eight agencies and offices, worth nearly $6 billion to cover all types of actions related to maritime resilience, including green shipping.

I’m delighted that one of my last projects in Athens was the agreement that Greece will host next year’s Our Oceans Conference. Given the prominent role of its shipping industry and the ancient ties between maritime trade and Greece’s national identity, there could be no better host for the Our Oceans Conference in 2024, and I greatly look forward to joining that event.

It is clear that we need a comprehensive approach to push shipping decarbonization efforts that show promise of being economically viable to own and operate in the long term.

In that regard I was encouraged by Jerry’s comments in the last panel about all the work that’s already happening on everything from efficient engines to methane abatement.

Some of these efforts are being advanced under the First Movers Coalition, which has set ambitious commitments for carriers and cargo owners to use zero emission fuels in new builds and retrofitted zero emission vehicles.

While we continue to advance dialogue and draw attention to the necessary greening of the shipping industry, we also understand that this transition will be challenging for ships and ports, because it can take 20 or 30 years to amortize a ship, and transition needs to begin as soon as possible with solutions both for existing vessels as well as new builds.

U.S. technology can help with this challenge. For example, the Department of Energy has launched an $8 billion program that will bring together hydrogen producers, consumers, and kickstart regional hydrogen hubs, which may well include ports or other maritime end use applications. U.S. providers are also leading innovation on technologies such as high efficiency wind assistance and carbon capture and storage, which help to reduce emissions in the shipping sector.

The United States is also committed to supporting the shipping industry transition through new targeted incentives and grant programs. For example, the Bipartisan Infrastructure law includes $17 billion to help electrify and decarbonize U.S. ports and ferries, and it ramps up R&D on advanced batteries for marine applications and zero emission fuels.

The Inflation Reduction Act provides $3 billion for an EPA program that helps fund zero emission port equipment or technology, technical assistance for electrification and emissions reductions planning, and port climate action plan development. This is in addition to the broader incentives that the IRA will provide and will help to catalyze innovation and developments in alternative fuels.

We are seeing a remarkable shift on greening the shipping industry, thanks in part to the programs and engagements that I’ve highlighted. As we heard in this morning’s discussions, we already see companies like Maersk, MSC, Yara, and others stepping up to shape the future of your maritime industry.

As Special Envoy, former Secretary of State John Kerry, noted at the Our Oceans Conference in Panama, this is exactly the kind of example we need to show to other hard-to-abate industries like aluminum and steel, and it shows how government can work with companies in the private sector to drive positive change.

There is so much that we can do together. My team and I are committed to continuing our engagement with you, our industry partners, to address this pressing global challenge. And I’m very glad, Nicholas, to see these transition issues and the critical role of LNG in our energy security and all of the shifting dynamics around maritime trade featured so prominently in today’s event.

Most importantly, I look forward to hearing from all today’s panels, how we can continue our partnership.

Thank you very much for your attention, and Kali Orexi.

U.S. Department of State

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