U.S., Nigeria mull maiden energy security dialogue – Envoy

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Amb. Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Energy Resources.

By Mark Longyen

Amb. Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Energy Resources, said the U.S. and Nigeria are working closely toward convening a maiden Energy Security Dialogue (ESD) in 2024.

Amb. Pyatt announced this at a digital news conference on Wednesday following a U.S.-Angola energy security dialogue to strengthen U.S.-Africa Energy Partnerships in Luanda, Angola.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Angola ESD was the first in-person dialogue in sub-Saharan Africa to be held during U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration.

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Pyatt said that the U.S.-Nigeria ESD would border on a broad agenda, including decarbonisation of fossil energy production, acceleration of clean energy deployment, and liquified natural gas.

He said other issues to be discussed during the event would be the challenges of the global gas market, critical minerals, energy access, grid interconnections, and partnerships.

The U.S. envoy said Deputy Secretary of State, Kurt Campbell, had discussed the prospective dialogue with Nigerian government officials during his recent visit to Nigeria, after which he took it up.

“And then I followed up at the Corporate Council for Africa summit meeting in Dallas just a few weeks ago, where I joined Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield for our meeting with the Nigerian foreign minister.

“So, I think our governments are agreed that we want this to happen. We want it to happen in 2024, and I’m hopeful that we will have an announcement in the next couple of weeks about the specific timing.

“Much like the dialogue with Angola, our dialogue with Nigeria would be built around a broad agenda, including decarbonization of fossil energy production, acceleration of clean energy deployment, LNG and the global gas market, critical minerals, issues of energy access and grid interconnections,” he said.

According to him, the dialogue will also involve a business element, whereby U.S. and Nigerian companies come together to explore opportunities and push their governments to accelerate the deepening of their energy partnerships.

He noted that for most of Sub-Saharan Africa, the number one energy priority was energy access; how to deliver the expanded volumes of energy that citizens needed to meet the aspirations for uplifting their situation.  

The envoy said the U.S. was partnering with Sub-Saharan African countries in providing massive access to energy, adding that American companies were already partners in that regard, operating in Angola, Mozambique, and Nigeria, among others.

He said the most crucial issues on the U.S-Africa energy partnership agenda include tackling climate change challenges and addressing energy transition through partnerships.

“We also understand, and this is painfully clear, in a country like Angola, where you see the impact that the climate crisis has on traditional agriculture and weather patterns. 

“And so, taking climate action and being as ambitious as we can in our targets to reduce the carbon footprint of the energy that we produce, the energy that the world needs, is job number one. 

“We want to ensure that we support, in Africa in particular, a just energy transition.

“Every country is going to have its energy mix and a unique endowment of natural resources,” he said.

Amb. Pyatt said that Nigeria and Angola as two of Africa’s largest oil producers, are important countries with a globally significant capacity to produce crude oil, hence their ESD significance.

“They are also countries whose crude oil economies have been significantly impacted both by Russia’s weaponization of its energy resources and also the role of China. 

“When I was in Angola, we talked a lot about the fact that Angola owes about 17 billion dollars to China for years and years of checkbook diplomacy. 

“So we want to talk to both governments about their role in the global energy matrix, our partnership, the role of the United States as a major oil producer, and how we see energy,” he said.

“Our energy security interests are impacted by the disruptions created by Russia’s weaponisation of its energy resources and how our producers are responding to that,” he added.

NAN recalls that the State Department had in June 2023 announced the formation of an energy security dialogue with Nigeria to advance collaboration on shared energy and climate goals, saying it would host it this year. 

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