“US energy priorities abroad,” a conversation with US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette

US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette speaking at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2020.

The following is “US energy priorities abroad,” keynote remarks by US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, and a conversation between Brouillette and Atlantic Council President and CEO Fred Kempe at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2020.

Introduction: A transformed US energy landscape

Thank you [General James L. Jones], I appreciate [your introduction]. We’ve had some good conversations both here and at the Munich Security Conference, and all over the world, really—Abu Dhabi, you name it. Thank you for your support and thank you for your friendship. It’s great to be back here at the Atlantic Council for today’s discussion on energy priorities all across the world.

Today, I will focus my remarks on our energy policy on both sides of the Atlantic.

And since I’ve just returned from Brazil from an important dialogue and will soon leave for meetings in Europe, I will say a few words about each of those trips, and then look forward to our follow-up discussion with [Fred Kempe] up here. I know he has some really hard questions for me, so I’m looking forward to that.

So, let me set the stage first by summarizing our US energy landscape as the general just alluded to and its implications for our energy policies well beyond our borders.

In the span of a few short years, the United States has gone from an energy-dependent country, one that was prone to energy shortages, to an energy-independent nation, one that is able to share its abundance all throughout the world.

It’s a fantastic transformation of our country. I was with a group yesterday and I was sharing some of my personal experiences. I’m old enough to remember gas lines here in the United States. I grew up down in Louisiana, an oil and gas producing state, and I remember distinctly as a young guy sitting in the backseat of my dad’s car and asking him: “Dad why are we in line for gas, we live in Louisiana? Gas is everywhere we’re supposed to have a lot of this stuff.” And to go from that to 2020 when the United States will be a net energy exporter is just remarkable. To go from gas lines to being the largest oil producer in the world—larger than Saudi Arabia, larger than Russia—is just stunningly transformational

So, the question is: what sparked this transformation?  

Simply stated, looking at it following a very long struggle between innovation and regulation, innovation is winning the day. That’s what’s happening here in America.  

That is why we, under this administration’s leadership—that is not to sound partisan, we are building on the work of previous administrations—have removed draconian regulations on energy—making innovation the cornerstone of our energy policy.

Because we feel strongly that because of innovation, the United States is the world’s second largest generator of wind and solar power, so it’s not just about oil and gas, its about renewable energy as well

Thanks to innovation, we are now the world’s largest producer of both oil and natural gas, which we are seeking tremendous markets for around the world

Thanks to innovation, we are reviving the world’s two most reliable, 24/7 generators of electricity, and that’s nuclear and coal.

And to further innovation, today I am announcing that we are going to release up to $64 million in federal funding for research and development under what we refer to as our “Coal FIRST” initiative.

Coal FIRST is going to help us produce more coal-based power more efficiently, and transform it into a near-zero-emissions energy source for our country but for the rest of the world as well.

That’s on top of a $100-million-dollar announcement we just made for solar this week. The point there is that we are going to continue with “all-of-the-above” strategy that we have taken.

But by any measure, our ongoing energy innovation progress, both at the department and within private industry is absolutely transformational.

It strengthens, as the general alluded to, our energy security. It improves our economic security—costs have fallen, jobs have risen, and opportunity is flourishing all across. It bolsters our national security by freeing us and our partners from unstable and often unfriendly foreign suppliers.

And it is transforming hemispheric security and transatlantic security, providing opportunities for peace, for prosperity, for freedom as we export our energy bounty, our energy technology, and our energy know-how.

Hemispheric and transatlantic security

When it comes to energy security, we are pursuing a bedrock philosophy of our administration.

We believe that in order to have a more secure and a more prosperous world, we must encourage more free, transparent, rules-based markets within countries, and to replicate these fundamental values around the globe to enhance commerce among these countries.

That’s why we support the emergence of a free and democratic Venezuela in this hemisphere.

It’s why we are strengthening our partnerships with hemispheric neighbors like Brazil, and with the democracies, economies, and energy sectors of Eastern Europe.

It’s why we are exporting our [liquefied natural gas (LNG)] to thirty-seven nations, eight of which are located right here in our hemisphere.

And It’s why we are urging countries across the world to embrace freedom and transparency so they can attract the private investment they need for vital energy infrastructure.

It’s why we accepted the challenge of developing a Western Hemisphere Energy Strategy, which launched last year with the Atlantic Council, to give us a modern blueprint for supporting energy projects all across the Americas.

And it’s why we launched the Partnership on Transatlantic Energy Cooperation, or PTEC as it is known more informally, to bring together the reformers, innovators, and policy makers from twenty-four Central and Eastern European nations to chart a bold course for growth, for security through energy development and diversification.

Brazil and our hemisphere

It was also precisely this philosophy that led President Trump to invite  President Bolsonaro of Brazil to the White House in March of last year, where they announced a brand-new framework of energy cooperation, and we call it the US-Brazil Energy Forum, or “USBEF” as I learned down in Rio last week. 

I was there last Monday, and I had the privilege of co-chairing the very first meeting of this organization. This is a relationship that I think exemplifies the bold new frontier for our own hemisphere’s integration and independence, and ultimately its prosperity.

From oil and gas to civil nuclear energy to power and energy efficiency, the dialogue we had with my counterpart, Minister Bento, was both extensive and illuminating. And coupled with that visit, and coupled with those conversations the day before, on Sunday, the Nuclear Energy Institute, NEI held an interesting roundtable in Rio and at that roundtable, we focused on nuclear cooperation which includes support for US companies obtaining full, effective access to Brazil’s market for this essential fuel source.

And what is true of Brazil is true across much of our hemisphere.  

From pre-salt drilling in Brazil to unconventional gas projects in Argentina and to the potential deployment of renewables in Colombia and Chile, the Americas present incredible opportunities for nations to work together to develop energy resources, we can work together to achieve energy security, and we can work together to foster economic growth.

Upcoming European trip

Let me add that I will be emphasizing our same philosophy of freedom, transparency, commerce, and cooperation, when I travel next Sunday to Europe.

I will be visiting three countries there: Austria, Portugal, and Germany.

In Vienna, at the International Conference on Nuclear Security, I will reaffirm the need for cooperation among nations to ensure that nuclear power is harnessed for peaceful and productive purposes.

I will also reiterate the administration’s position that we must not and will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear capabilities.

We are committed to nonproliferation and will continue working with the [International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)] and our global partners to keep Iran in line and to seek a Middle East that embraces mutual respect for all of its neighbors.

I think dealing with bad actors like Iran highlights what an incredible game changer our energy independence is for us and for our allies. With US energy production now at record levels, the world is no longer subject to the will of countries that seek to do us.

And this has revolutionized our foreign policy, and it frees us to pursue options we never had, at least in my lifetime.

In Lisbon, Portugal, I will visit the LNG Port of Sines with my Portuguese counterparts and members of the American private industry.

There I will stress the importance of such infrastructure to bringing America’s LNG and its abundance to Europe which provides alternatives to Russian gas.

The Port of Sines received the very first shipment of US LNG to Europe back in April 2016—and as of November of last year, we’ve sent Portugal twenty-six cargoes which totals approximately 83 [billion cubic feet (Bcf)] of natural gas. We hope to increase this amount as my department approves new LNG export facilities in the United States.

Today, Portugal wants to expand that port’s infrastructure and perhaps look beyond that for other infrastructure, and that’s a move we would strongly support. Nevertheless, we are somewhat concerned that Portugal might accept investments from China coming the latest geopolitical trophy of President Xi as he seeks to project the Chinese worldview upon the global community.

And so, while I’m in Portugal, I will communicate my concern as to counterparts there, as well as the prime minister.

From Portugal I will leave and go to Munich, where I’ll join the Munich Security Conference (MSC) and I will stress our support for the cooperative transatlantic efforts like the Three Seas Initiative and PTEC.

In fact, I know I’ll see some of you there at the conference, because you guys were very much at the forefront of many of the conversations that occurred there.

My message at the MSC is going be very clear. 

In Europe, as much as anywhere in the world, energy security is in fact national security—and energy security depends on energy diversity.

The fact is that it remains that many European countries remain dependent on Russian gas to meet more than 75 percent of their annual gas imports.

Given Russia’s use of energy to bend other nations to its will, those nations must diversify.

Thankfully, I think the United States is offering a compelling answer with greater energy choice through our LNG, and we are not limiting their choices for LNG, but we have encouraged them to build LNG export facilities to expand their infrastructure so that they can share energy more freely. But our LNG exports to Europe have increased, and they have increased dramatically. In fact, since July 2018, our LNG exports to Europe have risen by nearly 600 percent, and that is not a Department of Energy number, that’s [a European Union (EU)] number that’s been given to us, so that’s an astounding increase in the amount of LNG that is being shipped to the EU from the United States.

But there are still some missing links here. Roughly 40 percent of the EU’s LNG regasification capacity cannot be accessed by neighboring member countries or neighboring member states. We would like to see them expand their infrastructure internally, so they can more easily move that energy across the European Union

That is why we are also offering to support their efforts to diversify that energy infrastructure.

Through PTEC and through the Three Seas Initiative, the United States will mobilize technical expertise from each one of our programs in the Department of Energy and help our Europe create a better environment to attract the investment they need to build necessary new infrastructure.

Conclusion

Make no mistake about this: America’s incredible energy success story means the transformation of both sides of the Atlantic—and indeed the world—in truly wonderful ways. It’s an exciting time to be in the energy space and it’s an exciting time to be at the Department of Energy. It’s an exciting time to work with partners like you as we look forward to this bold new world

Thanks again for this opportunity to sum this all up—and I look forward to the questions that Fred is going to attempt pin me down with, so thank you for the opportunity to be here.

A fireside chat on international energy cooperation with the Hon. Dan Brouillette and Atlantic Council President and CEO Fred Kempe

Sec. Brouillette: How you doing, Fred?

Frederick Kempe: I’m all right, Mr. Secretary. What an honor to have you here.

Sec. Brouillette: It’s great to be here, it’s great.

Mr. Kempe: And it’s great that you could be here in your new capacity. We’ve really enjoyed working with you around the world. And I do want to salute General Jones, which I find myself doing quite a bit, both for his service to our country and for the Atlantic Council.  And also thank Randy Bell and his team at the Global Energy Center.

Sec. Brouillette: Absolutely.

Mr. Kempe:  This was really a powerful speech and hit a lot of things. As you know, I’m a recovering journalist from The Wall Street Journal. And you did make a little news with the $64 million of federal funding for Coal FIRST. And so, why don’t we start there?  Because there’s there is a debate on, you know, whether coal has a part in the future at all. Obviously, you’ve said it does and how far this technology has gone. So obviously you’re focusing on decarbonization, everyone’s focused on decarbonization. Where are we in the technology? Where do you hope this new funding will take us? Is the breakthrough there? Is the Holy Grail there?

Sec. Brouillette: I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say it’s the Holy Grail. But boy, we’re gonna work hard to find it and that’s what we’re trying to do with this Coal FIRST program. So, we think, you know, if coal plants are made smaller, more efficient, it’s easier to make them cleaner in some respects. The efficiency numbers become key for the decarbonization efforts we have underway. You’re well aware some of the other programs that we have at DOE around CCUS and carbon capture and those types technologies. As we look down the road that we look at developing nations, you know, coming online, we still see them using coal. We don’t see that going away. So, we’re committed to finding export opportunities for our coal miners here, in our coal units, our coal industries here, but we want to see that product being used. If it’s going to be used for electricity generation, we want to see it be used as cleanly as possible.  So, we’re also going to export and continue to make CCUS more economic so that they can be exported together. When I was in Japan just recently, many of you may have traveled and seen Isogo Coal facility there. It’s a giant coal generation facility. It is literally within eyesight of residential neighborhoods.  There’s a lot of commercial activity there as well. But the carbon emissions from that facility is lower in certain cases than some of the combined cycle gas units here in the United States. And I think it’s an indication that you can use this cleanly if you want to use it for electricity generation. We just have to continue to develop technology that allows us to do that. The second part of coal then, you know, part of the message is coal can be, in some respects, or we hope at least we’ll  find out the answer to it, a source of critical minerals for us and a source of  rare earth elements, which leads us to better battery storage capabilities, which allows us to bring even more renewables online.

So what we’re gonna do is, you know, the research arm of the US Government or the science department, if you will, is continue to look for those types of opportunities. No one is going to deny the fact, no one’s going to argue with the point that coal as a percentage of US electricity generation is declining – it will probably continue to decline for some time. The efforts that we’re undertaking are not to subsidize the industry and, you know, preserve their status if you will as, you know, large electricity generator. It is simply to make the product cleaner and to look for alternative uses for this product or this commodity. 

Mr. Kempe: That’s very, very interesting in terms of international partners. Who is going to be most important for you in this respect?

Sec. Brouillette: With regard to coal?

Mr. Kempe: With regard to coal.

Sec. Brouillette: So, I think you’re gonna look for purposes of export opportunities.  Asia, in particular, has been a strong customer. That’s why the USMCA was so important. We hope to work more collaboratively with both Mexico and Canada to find export facilities, to get the coal from places like Wyoming and out in the Western part over to Asia, because there’s a very, very strong demand for coal. And in certain parts of Africa, we’re seeing very strong demand. So, the East Coast coal miners in the East Coast coal industry have export opportunities as well, as well as some areas in Eastern Europe as well. 

Mr. Kempe: Thank you. It really was a very rich speech. Innovation is winning the day, the Coal FIRST talk, a really rich discussion of what happened in Brazil, Latin America and also Europe. So, there’s a lot to cover here and particularly the comments you made about Europe. But let’s start with something you didn’t touch upon, which is Coronavirus. And it’s already had an impact on demand. My guess is it will have an impact on US production and demand for US production. We’ve seen, we saw global slowing in any case, it has a knock-on impact on LNG markets. How are you looking at this? As you analyze, how you know, what could it change in the short term? Or what longer term implications might have?

Sec. Bouillotte: Well, I think it’s important for us to closely evaluate China’s response. If they are able to contain the virus, perhaps you won’t see quite the slowdown that you know people are anticipating. If it does continue, if it creates the contagion, it moves across China as well as around the world that obviously, we’re going to be concerned about Chinese economic growth. But at this point in time, I think what they’re doing seems to strike us as appropriate. Now, I’m not commenting on the tactical methodology of how they do it, but they seem to be able to have some understanding and control over the virus, or at least the initial efforts have been successful.  What we’re seeing right now, you know, is gonna be what does the rest of the world do?  Do you know? Do we slow down flights? You know that we stop flight altogether. Right now, we have some limited measures in place, a 14-day notification or 14-day disclosure period and all that. If you know, if flights stop all together, then obviously you start to see the secondary effects: demand of jet fuel that affects the energy pricing around the world as well. The other important component here is gonna be what does OPEC decide to do in the next few days. My understanding is that they’re going to meet to discuss this issue. I think their decision is gonna have an impact across the world. I don’t think that it’s gonna be a dramatic impact.  As I’ve said in the past, you know, OPEC’s posture within the oil market seems to be different than it was four years ago. So, I think they may have, you know, some decision made within the next 14 days that will lead us to understand clearly what the what the energy markets will do. But, you know, long way around of saying: right now, I think there’s been some impact. I think the impact has been marginal.  I don’t think it’s been dramatic at this stage, and we see that in oil pricing.  And we see it in, you know, the refined fuel pricing all across the world.

Mr. Kempe: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Your remarks referenced several regions, particularly Latin American and Europe, where the US is taking on a considerable leadership role. You talked about your trip to Brazil, where you formally launched the Brazil Energy Forum and described in your remarks what you plan to achieve regarding PTEC and the Three Seas at the Munich Security Conference, etc. If you look at that broader scope of what this says about US strategy in how to take advantage and make the  best of the energy leadership that we newly have – relatively newly have – how does  this fit in and are the things you’re doing in Latin American applicable  to other regions of the world? So, in other words, are you creating models for others?

Sec. Brouillette: It’s a good question, you know, I think, um, let me take us up back in. Brazil’s had a long history with the United States all the way back to the revolutionary days. And, you know, when I was down there, it was very interesting to hear those stories and their feelings toward the United States.  My personal view is that we have a very strong ally in Brazil at this moment time.  So, we have an opportunity to develop a very strong partnership, particularly on energy. And the conversations demonstrated that. So, you know, the conversations we had there focused on – they have three large nuclear facilities. The first Angra 1 is what it’s called – they want to extend the life of it from 40 years to 60 years. They’re very interested in having Westinghouse do that work for them. You know, the relicensing in the license extensions that are necessary to do that. Very much looking toward a US partner to do that. The last facility Angra 3 is about 69, 70 percent complete. They are also looking for US partners to help complete that project. The point of all that is that they have the same values around nuclear that we have. So, it creates an enormous opportunity for us not only for economic opportunities for US industry, but for our nonproliferation efforts as well. And if we can look for democracies like Brazil, for governments like Brazil, that have similar values around nuclear security, around energy security, around diversification, those are partnerships we need to seek out, and very aggressively, in my view. And so, whether it becomes a model, it’s probably a little too early to tell. But we’re excited about the progress we’ve made on. 

Mr. Kempe: Does this? Does the model that you’re talking about have to do with this Section 123 agreement, which is the Brazil agreement since 1999. Is this MOU and that kind of agreement what you could apply to other democracies?

Sec. Brouillette: I think so. Yeah, I think so. Um, you know, each one is a little different.  These things were negotiated many, many years ago, so the world was different back then. But I do think that, you know, those types of agreements can serve as models. But I just think, more importantly, the you know, the partnership, you  know, the trust that we show each other, the interactions that we have themselves become in some respects, a model that we can use across the  world.

Mr. Kempe: Thank you. You spoke of a transformational moment on both sides of the Atlantic. At the same time, you warned of Portugal potentially becoming, and other places, becoming trophies, geopolitical trophies of China and the dangers of over dependence on Russia. If you’re looking at the trend lines, do you see them as positive in Europe? Or do you see more a reason for concern because things are not moving rapidly enough?

Sec. Brouillette: I’m an army guy, so we tend to try and do things yesterday, so we’d like to move things a little faster. I think if you look at the trend line, there are some concerning trends, you know. The recent decision by UK to allow Huawei too to build at least a portion of its telecommunications network, I think some would argue, is a concern. We can disagree on the facts; we can disagree on the particulars. We’re pleased by the fact that they didn’t allow them to build the entire network. But nonetheless, you know, the fact that they will be part of the network. It still represents a concern. Another concern, I would point out, would be that we’re not quite sure that countries are moving fast enough to develop investment screening programs. That’s one of the conversations I’m gonna be having in Portugal. We think it’s important that people take the time to understand just who is investing and not only look at the finances involved, look beyond that to see if there may be other motives, other reasons, or other attractions for those countries to want to invest in your country. Those are legitimate questions to ask, so I’d like to see them move a little faster to develop those types of programs.

Mr. Kempe: So, let me get a wee bit more specific on this. Regarding PTEC, Three Seas, other connections. You were kind enough to tip your hat to the Atlantic Council role in this, and I’ll do the same with General Jones. For those in the audience who don’t know this, the Three Seas Initiative will, which I think will have its fifth leaders’ summit this year, fourth or fifth, in Estonia in June. It has great ambition, not entirely fulfilled so far, to be honest. The whole idea is starting with the 12 East European/Central European members of the European Union. You would build a North-South corridor with lots of infrastructure projects for energy, transportation, and digital and telecommunication. Do you feel that this can now get more traction than it’s had so far? And if so, what would be the US role in it? What might be the European Union role it in? And the the member country roll in it? How did this interact with PTEC?

Sec. Brouillette: I’m hopeful that we can get more traction, having conversations with my colleagues in the inter-agency process is here people like Kim Reed. Kim and I met recently at the EXIM Bank. The new DFC, the fact that EXIM is reauthorized, the fact that you know DFC has the ability to do some things we couldn’t do with OPIC just a few short years ago, I hope, you know will produce tangible results for these countries. We’re working very aggressively with private industry as well. I think the response has been good. I’d like to see it be stronger, to be honest, but we’re gonna continue the work. I mean, I am hopeful for it. I just want to see it move faster.  I don’t think we’ve moved, you know, as fast as I would have liked. But we’re gonna continue the progress. We’re gonna continue the good work.

Mr. Kempe: And the one question I’ve always loved to ask Secretaries of Energy, because you see things in the technological sphere that we don’t. As you’re seeing things bubble up, you talked about some of the technology that could have an impact on coal. What else gets you going? What else is in the technological sphere do you look at and say “this is really exciting, this is really promising.” You know, if you’re thinking of the top two or three technological innovations, you said we’re a country of innovation, which are the innovations that the rock your boat?

Sec. Brouillette: So, you know, there’s a couple things were working on. One of them is very blue sky. I’m gonna say it, but you guys are gonna think I’m crazy when I do say it. Let me talk about that later. The first one… maybe I’ll get out of here on the crazy note. We’re working very hard with some of our national laboratories in the middle part of the country. The University of Chicago helps us run our laboratories at Argonne, Fermi, and Ames in that area. And for the last couple two months, we have developed a quantum entangled internet that links the university with our laboratories of about 40, 42 miles off closed loop, quantum entangled internet. And if you think back to the days of DARPA, you know, way back in the day with the DoD. What we’re trying to do is to create this very secure, very fast closed loop internets that can link the 17 laboratories of the US Department of Energy together, including our weapons laboratories. And the way it works is – and I’m not a quantum physicist, so forgive the simplified explanation. But if you put data in a cubit here, it could be immediately on instantaneously put into this, you know, this cubit over here if it’s in close proximity. So, whatever you put here is automatically here, so there’s no need for a line and there’s no need for encryption. There’s no need for security. So, you’ve done away in certain respects with all of the cybersecurity concerns that we might have. That’s a very exciting world to live in. It’s very fast, and it’s very secure. And if we can take that and expand it more broadly, it transforms everything we think about today in terms of telecommunications.  So. You know, perhaps 5G becomes a thing of the past of concerns that we have about those things become a thing of the past. So that’s a very exciting project again. We’ve got 42 miles of it today up in that region. We hope to expand it very, very shortly. The next step will probably be to look at places like Brookhaven in New York because of their proximity to Wall Street. We think we can perhaps create the similar type of network in that region, which for the financial services community becomes a game changer for them. Data breaches are a big deal if you’re in the banking world. So, if you can eliminate some of those security concerns, you’ve really taken a large step forward. The crazy idea that I was talking about earlier: someone at one of the laboratories mentioned to me that perhaps we can start to transmit or move electricity without wires. Think about that world. Think about moving electricity from the far west to New York City without transmission lines and without distribution lines into your homes. Think about the amount of money that perhaps we could save. The amount of, if nothing else, the reduction in legal fees, trying to get perfect, and everything around the around the country. I think It’s a very exciting.  It’s a blue-sky project but it’s very exciting. And if we can do that, then perhaps we can, you know, challenge some of the infrastructure thinking here in the United States. But also think about what it means for the countries and in Europe. What does it mean for our transatlantic partners? What does it mean? What does it mean for places like Africa, you know, if they don’t have to invest hundreds of millions of dollars or billions of dollars in certain cases in transmission infrastructure, we can simply transport the electricity from the generator to the home without a wire.

Mr. Kempe: Wow, so that’s pretty exciting.  I’m sure that the audience would love to hear how close is this?

Sec. Brouillette: It’s far. Think blue sky, believe me it’s way out there.

Kempe: So, I know we’re running out of time. I’m just gonna ask you one more question, and thank you for spending this time.  We know you have to run on to other things. When we close, if you just hold your seats for a bit because the secretary will have to leave after we applaud and thank him.

As a longtime observer of energy markets, I’ve been absolutely shocked that we’ve had a hit on the major Saudi…

Sec. Brouillette: Abqaiq

Mr. Kempe: We’ve had the problems we’ve had in Venezuela. We’ve had the disappearance of Iranian oil, more or less. We’ve had so many hits that would have driven might have doubled prices in earlier ages. Now we have Corona virus. You know, we’re seeing the market adjust to that. Are we just in a different age, where energy risk ought to be viewed differently with the swing producers in the US? Or is there still something in all this that keeps you up late at night?

Sec. Brouillette: A couple things keep me up at night.  It’s usually called nine kids – my kids are usually doing something at night.  But energy policy doesn’t keep me up at night. It is a fundamentally different world, though, it really is. I mean, you just mentioned the Abqaiq facility, I might add to your list, the events in Venezuela and in other parts around the world.  You know, the fact of the matter is, is that the EIA tells me that we’re gonna produce 13 million barrels a day this year. 13 million barrels a day in 2020. And that number is going to go even higher in 2021. And you know you’re seeing the effect of that increased production on pricing. Now, some will argue that global demand is going down. Global demand for energy is actually going up. Global economic activity may be slowing. You know the growth may be slowing, but it’s still growing. It’s not in a decline. We’re looking at roughly one and 1.5 to 2% growth versus, you know, perhaps three or four that some people would say we should have. Those two things combined lead to a bright future in energy production. But it also adds stability. I mean, the fact that we are able to produce 13 million barrels a day here in the United States, and some estimates I’ve seen informally go highest 15 or 16 million barrels per day. That extra capacity, that strength, if you will, in the marketplace, I think keeps oil prices stable for the foreseeable future. You know, the next 2 to 3 years now, could we have some larger externality, you know, larger than Abqaiq, larger than Saudi? Perhaps. But for the near term, based on what we see in the marketplace, what we see around the world, I think we’re looking at very, very stable pricing for as far as we can see. What we talked about earlier is just a fundamentally different place for the world to be. Certainly, for the United States to be in.

Mr. Kempe: Mr. Secretary, What a rich conversation, and rich opening remarks. Thank you so much. And thank you for your service.

Sec. Brouillette: Thank you, sir. Thank you.