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Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources Francis R. Fannon Press Correspondent's Room, Washington, D.C.

Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources Francis R. Fannon Press Correspondent's Room, Washington, D.C.

By Francis R. Fannon, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Energy Resources

Great.  Thank you.  Good to be here.

I was on a bit of a tour.  I just thought I’d give a quick readout of some of the work we’re doing.  But at the – the founding kind of idea, the concept of the trip, was to southern Africa and then went on to Abu Dhabi for ADIPEC.

Some of the initial observations is also reflecting on the past year and a half in this role to where we are now and then where we’re positioning to go forward.  In terms of energy, you’ve heard me speak about this before.  The way the State Department looks at it as – clear recognition of energy as a – the importance it plays in terms of broader foreign policy issues.

Kissinger helped catalyze this during the oil crisis, the era of scarcity, if you will, and created a new architecture, a foreign policy diplomatic architecture to – in short, energy resiliency of markets.  We’ve then gone through that transition, and we’ve now been in this new era of abundance.  I’ve said publicly earlier that we are still, I think – particularly the rest of the world is still very much reconciling what the era of abundance means for markets and the optionality that U.S. energy plays on their own foreign policy posture and the optionality it provide – presents to countries, in terms of looking more broadly into traditional energy and trading relationships.

But now we’re going through there and we’re really looking to branch out into an era of partnership.  And some of the work that we’ve been doing is evidence of that, and I think, kind of to tease out as we’re going forward in 2020, you’ll hear more about that.  What do I mean by that is we work with countries to help them identify their own self-determined energy pathway – what is the development path for their respective states – and help them to achieve their own respective ambition, whatever that may be.

I was in southern Africa in part – I was at – attended Africa Oil Week in Cape Town and then moved on to Namibia and to Botswana.  Part of that was to recognize the call, which is these countries want to advance their own energy development path.  They would like to see greater U.S. investment.  And so it was an opportunity to dialogue with them directly as to how to get that kind of investment.

And then, more broadly, as we see the incredible demand for cleaner forms of energy, as we see the ascendency of middle classes in parts of the world that never existed before and the scale at which all of this is occurring, the incredible demand this is having for renewable technology, battery storage technologies, et cetera, and by extension the demand for the minerals that allow those to play out.

Some of these countries are some of the new frontiers for mineral development in – go into these energy – new energy technology systems.  Botswana is, as you may be aware, is one of the nations that we’re working in collaboration as a founder to the Energy Resource Governance Initiative, which is a multi-country initiative to support countries in their own resource for the energy mineral resource sector, to adopt best practices and get the right kind of investment that they – that they’re desirous of.

I was pleased to also acknowledge, just last week, we signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia to finalize their ERGI founding member status, and we expect to have more similar events, signing events, in the next few weeks.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Department of State.U.S. Department of State
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