MODERATOR:  All right, guys.  All of you know [Senior State Department Official], right?  Or do you not know [Senior State Department Official]?

QUESTION:  Yeah.

MODERATOR:  Okay, good.

QUESTION:  Hello.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Hi.

MODERATOR:  I will let you – I’ll let you tell them who you are and what you do, and I think he has a few opening things and then we can go to questions.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Sure, great, thanks.  So I’m [Senior State Department Official].  I lead that bureau.  We really focus on energy issues as – where it’s really – these energy issues are a proxy for other foreign policy issues.  We got a global perspective, have a variety of regional programs.  We are very pleased that the Secretary today convened an event concerning what we call the Energy Resource Governance Initiative.

What we see is the world is growing, increased – that’ll require increased energy, 50 percent greater demand for energy in 2040 than we have today.  Most of this new energy is going to be met by cleaner forms of electricity generation, renewables, and battery storage technologies, electric vehicles.  These forms of energy are more minerals-intensive than other traditional fossil-based systems.  Electric vehicles have multiple – four to six times more copper than an internal combustion engine, for example.

So you see this incredible demand for resources globally.  You also see some countries that may be really – have considerable resource abundance may have serious governance challenges, capacity challenges.  What we’re doing, what the Secretary spoke of through ERGI, is to bring countries that have a long-term history of responsible resource management and development together to – so these countries are Australia, Botswana, Peru, and the United States – to bring these countries together to develop really a toolkit, a roadmap on how our countries were able to advance responsible resource development, have that shared value approach to benefit the societies.

But this is – again, it’s a four-continent-wide – as the Australian foreign minister spoke, this is a multilateral approach stretching four continents, so it’s a diverse group of countries.  What are the lessons we have to share?  And then we also saw a variety of other countries who aspire to the same level of responsible resourcing of minerals.  What we could do is develop this toolkit and also provide various degrees of capacity building, technical financing, et cetera to help create the above-ground conditions that will incent responsible best-class mining companies to go into their countries.

We’re very pleased – all of the countries that were present today have a long history – have resources that they want to develop, save for one.  We’re very – we’re delighted that the Holy See came and spoke about these issues, recognizing that they have no resources to speak of, but they’ve been a champion in terms of governance issues for a very long time, and this is an initiative that they are committed to supporting.

So why don’t I pause there, there’s a lot to go through, and I’m looking forward to your questions.

MODERATOR:  Okay.  Anybody have one?

QUESTION:  Not on this, but I wanted to – not on the event this morning, but on – what’s the latest on the Nord Stream 2 and your efforts to destroy it?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Well, we’ve – our position obviously is speaking to – we believe energy security is focused on diversification, to not be dependent and rely on any one source or type or energy, which is also, in the context of ERGI, why we have this diverse perspective and we look at responsible supply chains and minerals.

In the context of Nord Stream 2, I think it’s – we continue to evaluate developments and we look – watch with interest how Congress has really taken that issue on and considerable enthusiasm on a bipartisan basis.  So we continue to track the developments.  But in terms of any actions, I have nothing further to report.

QUESTION:  Okay.

MODERATOR:  Go ahead, Nick.

QUESTION:  Can I ask you about —

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Please.

QUESTION:  — China’s import – continuing to import Iranian oil?  Do you have a sense for how much they’re importing, and can you just talk a little bit about whether that is not particularly helpful in maintaining the maximum pressure campaign?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  I think our maximum pressure – our campaign is continuing.  It’s robust.  We have discussions with all parties who would seek to import oil from nefarious actors, Iranian or others.  We continue those discussions and our maximum pressure campaign is moving forward and robust and is quite effective.

QUESTION:  Do you have a sense for how much China’s importing?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  I don’t have numbers off the top of my head.  Really, I was all geared up for ERGI.  I can tell you how much overburden is created to generate a 200 megawatt wind farm if you’d like to talk about that.

MODERATOR:  Go ahead.

QUESTION:  (Inaudible) Japanese media.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Yes, hi.

QUESTION:  Hi.  The ASEAN countries depend on Middle East for oil import.  But recent  events in the Middle East highlighted that the ASEAN should diversify sources from Middle East.  So my question is: How U.S. is going to work together with U.S. – ASEAN countries to diversify sources from the Middle East?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Yeah, I mean, I think that the strike on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – I guess that was a week ago – really was – of course it was an attack on Saudi Arabia.  But it was really an attack on global energy consumers and especially those in the Indo-Pacific region, where some – more than 70 percent of Saudi production flows to those countries.  So I think we certainly understand that criticality of diversification, as I said in my opening.

We have a variety of programs to help countries in the Indo-Pacific – diversification.  But it’s really – our program under – our program called Asia EDGE.  So I lead a program – a whole of government initiative focused on enhancing development and growth through energy in Asia.  And we work on a partnership-based model, so countries will have various degrees of ambition on their own energy path, their own energy future.  We work together with them to identify where do they want to go, under what timeframe, and then what do we need to do.

So a good example: The Philippines.  We have a program there where they want to – they need energy, they want gas, but you just don’t flip the switch and develop – have the LNG tanker show up.  You have to create a regulatory structure on how to do that.  So we have technical experts that go and help them do that.  You’re going to have to incorporate it into your grid matrix, so we bring them there as well.  And then, of course, all the while we make sure that the private sector are aware of these opportunities.

Within the ASEAN context in particular, we are – have an advisory role on the ASEAN committee on – it’s ASCOPE, I’m trying to – the acronym escapes me.  I think it’s the Committee on Petroleum or something.  It’s basically all of the ASEAN national oil companies.  We recently brought all of the ASCOPE members to Washington so that they have a better understanding of how we go about energy regulation in the United States and then took them all to Houston to meet with the private sector, to meet with regulators, to create this greater awareness on what is best practice, how to incorporate different types of energy.  So it’s part of a learning, it’s capacity-building, and it’s leveraging our private sector to share those opportunities.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  You’re welcome.

MODERATOR:  All right.

QUESTION:  Hi.  Can I ask you about the potential fallout on the shipping industry as a result of these sanctions on, like, these Chinese entities, and in some cases, like, these companies?  For example, the mother company of Costco is not – I understand is not sanctioned, but we hear that there are various mining companies already reviewing their charters with Costco.  I mean, would you be worried about the potential fallout of this in the shipping market?  Do you have any measures to sort of – in place to counter that impact if it gets much worse?  Is that something that you’re considering, you’re sort of putting all of these sanctions, but they would have a ripple effect?

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Well, I haven’t seen the reports about potential harm, ripple effects in that industry, but we constantly gauge unintended consequences.  And we’ve certainly done that in the oil market context.  We have clear awareness.  And I think that our record has been quite successful in advancing our maximum pressure campaign without any harm.  However, there was a lot of alarm at the outset that there would be – of the potential ramifications, and I think they just haven’t borne out to be that way.  They’ve been quite successful.  The economic impacts have been ameliorated, and I would suspect we would approach any sanctions with the same care.

MODERATOR:  Anybody else?  No?  Okay. We have a few more of these this afternoon later in the day, so I will see you then.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:  Thank you, guys.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Thanks very much.

 

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future