Expanded energy cooperation to promote mutual economic growth, energy security

BRASILIA, BRAZIL – U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman joined with Dr. Márcio Zimmermann, Executive Secretary of Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy, yesterday to launch the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Strategic Energy Dialogue, a presidential-level partnership that provides an overarching framework to deepen energy cooperation between the two nations’ energy sectors.  Through a series of concrete initiatives led by agencies from across both governments, the Strategic Energy Dialogue will help the United States and Brazil strengthen their mutual energy security, create new jobs and new industries, and reduce carbon pollution. 

The Dialogue was announced by Presidents Obama and Rousseff during President Obama’s visit to Brazil in March 2011 as a way for the United States and Brazil to work together to develop safe, sustainable, affordable, and secure energy resources for both countries.

“The Strategic Energy Dialogue builds on the long-history of energy cooperation between the U.S. and Brazil to advance our shared energy goals,” said Deputy Secretary Poneman.  “Working together, we can help grow our economies, enhance regional and global energy security, and build a clean energy future for both of our nations.”

The initial meeting of the Strategic Energy Dialogue was led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME), and included U.S. officials from the Departments of State and Commerce, the White House National Security Staff, the United States Trade and Development Agency, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also participated and is actively supporting the Strategic Energy Dialogue.

The launch of the Dialogue focused on four areas: biofuels; renewable energy and energy efficiency; oil and natural gas; and nuclear energy and nuclear security.  Through a series of technical working groups and high-level discussions, the United States and Brazil agreed on a number of actions that will continue to advance the goals of the Strategic Energy Dialogue. 

These measures include: 

  • A “Green Export” trade mission to Brazil August 27-September 2, 2011, to promote U.S. green technologies and services in the Brazilian market.
  • Continued support for policy and technical assistance in partner countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa to support the development of domestic biofuels industries that can improve energy security and grow local economies.
  • Support for collaborative biofuels research between DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Petrobras’ research organization (CENPES) to develop new methods of producing bio-based oils that can reduce emissions from petroleum refining. 
  • Efforts to improve the efficiency of flex-fuel vehicles powered by high ethanol blends, beginning with analysis, workshops, and coordination with industry partners in both nations.
  • A workshop on November 1, 2011, to share information on  test methods and labeling systems to rate the energy-efficient performance for building products and materials such as windows, insulation, and cool roofs.
  • A workshop within the next year to assess opportunities for increased development and deployment of mid-size wind energy technologies.
  • Establishing technical exchanges and policy discussions between the United States and Brazil focused on creating opportunities to draw on international best practices and expertise and assuring that deep-water oil and gas resources in both countries are developed in ways that are safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible.  This includes upcoming workshops hosted by DOE and MME in Rio de Janeiro in October 2011 and in Houston, Texas in 2012.
  • The first-ever U.S. Pavilion at the Rio Off Shore Technology Conference and Trade Show on October 3-4, 2011, supported by the Department of Commerce.  More than 175 American companies will be participating in this trade show, highlighting the innovation and leadership of U.S. companies in offshore energy development.
  • Supporting U.S.-Brazil nuclear cooperation in the areas of new technology and post-Fukushima lessons learned on nuclear safety.
  • Partnering to help build an international framework for civil nuclear cooperation that will enable countries to enjoy the benefits of low-carbon electricity.
  • During the Dialogue, Deputy Secretary Poneman also presented Executive Secretary Zimmermann with a letter from President Obama to President Rousseff expressing his support for the launch of the Strategic Energy Dialogue and future energy partnerships between the two countries.

The work under the Dialogue builds on earlier government-to-government energy collaboration pursued under the U.S.-Brazil Binational Energy Working Group and the Memorandum of Understanding to Advance the Cooperation on Biofuels, which together established a solid foundation for energy cooperation. 

The Strategic Energy Dialogue will also include private sector cooperation between U.S. and Brazilian businesses to further advance the energy goals laid out by Presidents Obama and Rousseff.  As part of the preparation for the Strategic Energy Dialogue, Deputy Secretary Poneman met with representatives from the business community, along with leaders from the U.S.-Brazil Business Council, to gain their perspective on future energy collaboration.

DOE News Media Contact: 202-586-4940