Joint Statement on the U.S. - EU Energy Council Ministerial

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
November 29, 2011

Following is the text of a U.S.-EU Joint Statement.

Begin Text:

On November 28, 2011, the U.S.-EU Energy Council met in Washington DC to review progress achieved on strategic energy issues, cooperation on energy policies, and research collaboration on sustainable and clean energy technologies as mandated by the Energy Council in 2009.

Led by U.S. Secretary of State Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Energy Chu, EU High Representative Ashton and EU Commissioner for Energy Oettinger, participants renewed their commitment to continued cooperation on energy for mutual security and prosperity, the importance of leading-edge energy technologies in creating jobs and fostering economic growth, and facilitating the Trans-Atlantic trade in energy products and services. Under-secretary Stelmach of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs also attended, representing the rotating EU Presidency

The Energy Council commended the work of the Energy Policy Working Group, specifically with regard to joint work on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), energy efficiency, smart grids and electric vehicles, and nuclear safety, as well as the following developments:

The U.S. and EU stated their intent to establish two Electric Vehicle-Power Grid Interoperability Centers, one at Argonne National Laboratory in the United States and one at JRC-Ispra in Italy to deepen joint work on electric vehicle interoperability with charging and smart grid equipment.

The U.S. and EU concluded negotiations for an agreement to develop common energy efficiency specifications for office equipment and the common use of the ENERGY STAR logo, in coordination with the work conducted under the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum. This renewed agreement will establish consistent targets for office equipment manufacturers, thereby maximizing the effect of their individual efforts to increase the global supply of and demand for energy efficient office equipment and help consumers in both markets identify energy efficient, cost-effective products. It is an important milestone for further agreements to facilitate international harmonization and promotion of energy efficient office equipment.

The U.S. and EU stated their intention to continue their strategic dialogue on global gas markets, including the role of unconventional gas, for example shale gas, with the objective of exchanging information on regulatory aspects and best practices.

The U.S. and the EU recognized the importance of leading the way in promoting the highest levels of safety and security for nuclear power plants and exploration and production offshore of oil and gas, and will continue to work together closely to achieve this.

The U.S. and the EU stated their intention to deepen their co-operation on knowledge-sharing between CCS projects, including the exchange of best regulatory practice in support of our respective large-scale demonstration projects.

The Energy Council recognized the significant contributions of the Technology Working Group and its efforts to leverage the energy RD&D budgets and laboratory expertise on both sides of the Atlantic, and urged further initiatives and actions with added value, including coordinated research and other efforts to foster greater research cooperation.

The Energy Council endorsed the prioritization of four of the current nine co-operation areas: namely advanced materials including critical materials for clean energy supply, smart grids including energy storage for grids, nuclear fusion, and hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The Energy Council asked for the preparation of two-year joint actions plans in each of the four priority sectors. In addition, the Energy Council took note of the following developments:

The U.S. and EU intend to co-operate on continuing the Solar Decathlon Europe competitions, transforming them into an initiative to foster sustainable economic development by creating markets on both sides of the Atlantic for integrating innovative technologies and renewable energy sources into new and refurbished low impact buildings.

The U.S. and EU have made efforts to foster greater research cooperation including through lab to lab cooperation and researcher exchanges. On the U.S. side, thousands of EU researchers are present at DOE labs at any particular time, and the EU FP7 Framework is open to non-funded participation of U.S. researchers. The Energy Council requested both sides to propose measures to identify and lift the remaining legal and administrative obstacles to research cooperation.

The U.S. and EU launched a major Trilateral Critical Materials Initiative with Japan that could also involve other international partners, aimed at co-operating on the sustainable separation, extraction and processing of critical materials, their substitution and more efficient use. The Energy Council called for decisive follow-up action on this initiative, at programmatic and project levels.

The Energy Council commended the Energy Security Working Group’s sustained progress on its global oil, gas, and electricity markets dialogue; coordination on energy infrastructure projects; and cooperation toward third countries and international organizations. Highlights of this progress include:

The U.S. and EU acknowledged the significant signing on October 25, 2011 of a gas transit agreement between Turkey and Azerbaijan, bringing the Southern Corridor one step closer to being launched. The Energy Council looks forward to the conclusion of commercial agreements with the Shah Deniz II consortium, which could ultimately open multiple sources of gas for the Southern Corridor. The Energy Council reiterated its support for the creation of sufficient dedicated infrastructure which will provide substantial volumes of gas.

The U.S. and EU welcome Ukraine’s accession to the Energy Community on February 1, 2011, its significant role in Europe’s energy security, and its important steps towards increasing its trade and economic ties with Europe. The Energy Council recognizes the urgency of Ukraine implementing the reforms in its gas sector that would permit the International Financial Institutions and the private sector to invest in the modernization of the gas transit system, including the long promised internal gas price reform to put Naftohaz Ukrainiy on a path to cost recovery and a more sustainable financial footing. The Energy Council further urged Ukraine to adopt appropriate production sharing legislation and policies, to attract international investment in the development of Ukraine’s conventional and unconventional energy resources in a responsible and efficient manner, as well as promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.

The Energy Council recognizes Russia’s role as an indispensible part of Europe’s and the world’s energy solutions, particularly as the global leader in hydrocarbon production, and also acknowledged the role Russia played in helping to ease oil supply shocks in spring 2011. The Energy Council urged the government in Moscow to implement its energy sector tax and investment reforms in a transparent and consistent manner, as well as promote further market opening in the energy sector.

The U.S. and EU noted Nigeria’s 2011 adherence to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a particular focus of last year’s Energy Council, and called on the Nigerian authorities to pass and implement a Petroleum Industry Bill to increase transparency in energy resource development, and to implement its far reaching program on power sector reform. While recognizing the positive impact of the Amnesty in the Niger Delta so far, the US and EU urge the Government of Nigeria to follow up on the UNEP report on Ogoniland, to remedy the critical health and environmental problems facing this region and to further engage the oil companies and the international community on this issue. The U.S. and EU stated their intention to coordinate their respective efforts to support Nigeria’s reform and development agenda, communicating regularly on key issues such as improved access to electricity, reduced gas flaring and good governance in the energy sector.

The U.S. and EU look forward to Libya regaining its role as a trusted supplier of oil and natural gas to Europe. They affirmed their intent to encourage the Libyan government to pursue greater transparency in the hydrocarbon sector and implement sound public financial management principles.

Looking forward, the Energy Council recognizes the benefit of continued cooperation on the security and diversification of energy resources, and will strive to continue and deepen ongoing research cooperation and information exchange and trade and investment in energy storage technologies, e-mobility, the extraction and substitution of raw materials, energy efficiency, and the deployment of clean energy technologies.

PRN: 2011/2018