Sec. Clinton: Energy increasingly important in foreign policy

A massive global market upheaval brought about by new oil and gas exploration and production technologies is making energy an even more important part of US foreign policy, US Sec. of State Hillary R. Clinton said.

“Energy is at the core of geopolitics because it’s an issue of wealth and power, making it both a source of conflict or cooperation,” she told an audience at Georgetown University. “It’s essential to how we power our economy and manage our environment, making it in our interest to promote technologies that reduce pollution and provide economic growth abroad as well as at home. Finally, it’s a key to economic development and stability, making it essential for us to help the 1.3 billion people worldwide who don’t have immediate access to it.”

Less US reliance on imported crude oil has strengthened the nation’s global standing, Clinton said. “Our country can’t be an island in an international energy market,” she maintained. “Oil markets are global, and natural gas markets are moving in that direction. Protecting our energy security calls for us to make progress at home and abroad. That requires producing more American energy.”

US energy diplomacy continues to emphasize encouraging countries to resolve their disputes, such as in the South China Sea, or begin working on emerging issues in frontier areas, such as through the Arctic Council, the secretary said.

The US Department of State also works to promote competition and discourage supplier monopolies, she added. While DOS has conducted energy diplomacy in the past—usually when crises arose—its new Bureau of Energy Affairs gives it a team of energy experts to work with other federal departments on issues before they turn into problems, Clinton said.

Iran sanctions

“Security is also at the heart of the most important energy diplomacy we’ve conducted during the Obama administration: working with other countries to impose sanctions to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” she said. “This has involved painstaking efforts, starting with convincing consumers of Iranian oil to reduce their purchases by reaching out to other major producers to increase production. It also helped that the US increased its own oil production by nearly 700,000 b/d which encouraged other countries to diversify their supply sources. It has let us put unprecedented economic pressure on Iran while reducing vulnerability in the rest of the world.”

US foreign policy also encourages Iraq’s government to rebuild its crude production capacity, which has grown from 2.3 million b/d in 2010 to 3.2 million b/d 2 years later, according to Clinton.

“The Iraqis have come a long way in trying to modernize their infrastructure and create a hydrocarbon law that will work for them,” she said. “There are still bones of contention, and there’s much that’s unsettled. Iraq has a lot of work to do, but its oil resources suggest it will be able to address its domestic needs.”

She said the US strongly supports efforts across the Middle East to work out challenges of producing and exporting energy. “Israel has made significant strides with natural gas off its coastline, and there is potential for new sources off Cyprus and Lebanon,” Clinton said. We’ve been urging everyone to work out their boundaries because overlapping claims will stand in the way of development unless they’re resolved.”

Every government in the region is in the same frame of mind, she maintained: “They need more reliable energy sources, some of which they can do domestically, but some of which will require agreements with its neighbors. As difficult as the problems now appear, we can make some diplomatic headway by getting more countries to act in their own interest to resolve boundary questions and develop stronger commercial energy relationships with their neighbors.”

Undo 'resource curse’

Clinton said US diplomatic efforts also try to address poor governance that often accompanies sudden resource wealth. “We need to work to undo the ‘resource curse,’ especially since new technologies suggest more countries will become oil exporters,” she maintained. “They need support to assure that their energy resources don’t cause more trouble. The problem isn’t with resources. It’s with greed.”

The US supports building blocks to create effective regulations in countries such as Uganda which are on the verge of significant energy development, she said. “We also support the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which the US joined a year ago, becoming only the second developed country to do so,” she said.

The challenges aren’t new because countries have been fighting over natural resources for centuries, Clinton said. “But this is a moment of profound change,” she continued. “Right now, developing countries are consuming more energy than developed countries. There’s been a surge in global natural gas supplies, lessening the world’s dependence on oil, and technology has grown to a point that we can drill for oil in places where we couldn’t before.”

Clinton said the message the US is trying to convey with all these efforts to resolve energy disputes and promote cooperation is that the US recognizes that energy will continue to be a major global issue in the 21st century.

“The answers to these questions are being written right now, and we intend to play a major role in writing them,” she declared. “There is no choice. We have to be involved. The future of the world hangs in the balance.”

Contact Nick Snow at

Related Articles

EPA proposes voluntary methane reduction program for gas industry

07/24/2015 The US Environmental Protection Agency proposed a voluntary methane reduction program for the natural gas industry that would allow companies to ma...

Petrobras workers stage 24-hr strike

07/24/2015 Workers at beleaguered Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) staged a 24-hr strike across Brazil to protest plans by the state-owned company to liquid...

MARKET WATCH: Oil futures hover below $49/bbl

07/24/2015 Light, sweet crude oil futures prices settled under $49/bbl July 23 on the New York market, which means US prices have slid more than 20% since the...

EQT reports high IP from Utica dry gas well

07/24/2015 EQT Corp., Pittsburgh, said a deep, dry gas Utica well averaged 72.9 MMcfd with an average flowing casing pressure of 8,641 psi during a 24-hr deli...

Separate Murkowski bill addresses crude exports, OCS revenue sharing

07/24/2015 US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) introduced legislation that would end the ban on US crude oil expor...

OGUK updates guidelines for well abandonments


Oil & Gas UK has released updated guidelines for abandonment of wells, including cost estimates.

MARKET WATCH: Oil futures plunge below $50/bbl


Light, sweet crude oil futures prices plunged lower to settle below $50/bbl on the New York market on July 22.

Cornyn calls for more US energy exports in wake of Iran deal

07/23/2015 US Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said it would be geopolitically, economically, and strategically absurd for the US to maintain outmode...

Post-sanctions Iran initially won’t shake markets up, executive says

07/22/2015 Iran’s resumption of oil and gas exports, once sanctions are lifted under the recently negotiated nuclear limits agreement, probably won’t flood gl...
White Papers

Definitive Guide to Cybersecurity for the Oil & Gas Industry

In the Oil and Gas industry, there is no single adversary and no single threat to the information tech...

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Better Data, Better Analytics, Better Decisions

When Tue, Oct 27, 2015

The Oil & Gas industry has large amounts of data stored in multiple systems which are purpose built for certain tasks. However, good decisions require insights based upon the data in all of these systems. These systems in turn do not talk to each other. So the process of analyzing data, gaining insights, and making decisions is a slow one and often a flawed one. Good decisions require accurate analytics and accurate analytics require superior/sustainable data quality and governance. This webinar focuses on:

  • The importance of data quality and governance
  • How technological advances are making data quality and governance sustainable in order to get the accurate analytics to make solid decisions.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Seven Lakes Technologies and Noah Consulting.


Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected