Remarks as Prepared for Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette

Baker Institute Fireside Chat

Rice University

October 21, 2020

Thank you very much.

It’s wonderful to be here at Rice University, and I am truly honored to have the chance to address the esteemed Baker Institute. I apologize we couldn’t do this in person. 

Having lived in Texas for many years, it never ceases to amaze me to see the quality of our educational institutions, and so I am grateful for the invitation to share ideas amongst this distinguished group of faculty and staff.

As I was preparing for today, I came across the purpose of the Baker Institute as told by Secretary Baker himself at the Institute’s founding.

He said that he hoped the Institute would “build a bridge between the world of ideas and the world of action,” for Secretary Baker was indeed a man of action.

Given this mission statement – this focus on ideas becoming action – what could be more fitting to talk about than the nexus between energy and our national security?

Energy is ultimately an idea.

You can’t touch it, and you can’t see it.

We extract oil and gas from the earth and capture the sun’s rays to produce energy, but those things are not energy in and of themselves.

Probably the best description would be that we experience energy….come home at the end of the day, flip the lights on….there’s energy providing you electricity.

And we certainly know what the experience is like when we don’t have energy.

So, energy is an idea, but it’s one with the power to influence actions across the globe.

If a nation lacks access to energy, they must take certain actions….importing resources or exploring new ways to produce them.  Or we can do both.

In our case, we are now the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, two critical energy resources.

This recent and very welcome development has profound implications for our national security. 

First, it must be said that we achieved this enviable position by adhering to the President’s pursuit of a true “all of the above” American energy policy.

This Administration cut taxes and harmful regulations.

We pursued all energy sources and technologies, unleashing American energy dominance, and our Nation is the safer for it.

This audience—you understand the seismic shift that this represents.

When Secretary Baker was in office, the oil embargos of the ‘70s may have been behind us, but we were still heavily dependent on the Middle East for energy.

And as I’m sure he would tell you…our foreign policy reflected that reality.

Fast forward 30 years.

As the world’s top energy producer, we can pursue our own agenda with OPEC and energy-producing nations, as opposed to being beholden to them.

Think back to April and the height of the pandemic…the Russians and Saudis suddenly ramped up energy production, threatening to collapse the market.

President Trump brought them and other producing nations to the table and negotiated from a position of strength.

He achieved a deal to cut production on favorable terms to the United States because of our global energy supremacy.

Our status as a dominant producer also allows us to pursue global energy exports on a level never seen in our history.

We currently export liquefied natural gas to 38 different nations.

Our goal is to expand those exports, as the Department recently approved two LNG export terminals on the west coast, which would allow us to reach more Asian markets.

And today I am also pleased to announce that we just issued the first seven LNG export authorization extensions under a new policy that extends export terms through the year 2050.

These initial extensions send a strong signal that American energy exports will continue to flow around the globe. 

While it isn’t talked about much, coal is another resource for which there is tremendous demand.

We export coal to 50 countries including key allies such as India, Japan, and South Korea.

All our energy exports – LNG, coal, petroleum products – provide energy choice, reliability, and security to our trading partners.

Our role as a reliable energy trade partner also strengthens bilateral relationships, which can help act as a counterbalance to the hegemonic ambitions of China and Russia.

I believe strongly that by pursuing dominant energy production here at home and promoting energy exports abroad, we are contributing to a more stable, peaceful global order.

This Administration is committed to the policies that will grow our energy advantage so that we remain a safe and prosperous country now and in the future.

Thank you.