The Governments of the United States and Greece held a 2nd high-level meeting of the Strategic Dialogue Energy Working Group virtually on June 29, 2020. Head of the U.S. delegation, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources (ENR) Francis R. Fannon, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary for Energy Mark Menezes, Greek Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Kostantinos Fragkogiannis, and Deputy Minister of Energy Gerassimos Thomas reaffirmed Greece’s and United States’ commitment to working together in support of diversifying energy sources in South East Europe, working with regional partners in the Eastern Mediterranean to develop energy resources, and to promoting regional energy security. The Energy Working Group builds on increasing engagement following the U.S.-Greece Strategic Dialogue meetings in December 2018 and October 2019.
The U.S. and Greek delegations discussed ongoing developments in the Eastern Mediterranean region, including U.S. support for inclusive partnerships that bring together the various stakeholders in the Eastern Mediterranean. In this context both parties expressed their continued strong support for the 3+1 mechanism and the East Mediterranean Gas Forum. They also discussed current energy market conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Each side reiterated the importance of diversification in the energy sector, highlighted by the recent disruption in supply chains.
The U.S. and Greek delegations underlined the need for all states of the Eastern Mediterranean region to conduct their activities in accordance with international law, including the international law of the sea as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, and promote good neighborly relations to the benefit of regional stability and security, thus creating a conducive environment for the diversification of energy resources and routes.
Assistant Secretary Fannon expressed satisfaction for the completion of the Greek section of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, support for the continuation of construction of the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria, the movement forward with the Alexandroupoli floating storage regasification unit project, and the Kavala underground gas storage, as well as the Interconnection Greece-North Macedonia. Greek and U.S. delegations reaffirmed their support for the diversification of export options for Eastern Mediterranean energy resources that enhance regional and European energy security and are commercially viable, which could include new infrastructure, such as the EastMed pipeline.
The group also discussed potential U.S. private sector investment in the Greek energy sector, opportunities in the oil market, and expanding cooperation in the renewables sector. This was highlighted by the new opportunities for U.S. investment created by the U.S. Development Finance Corporation. Both sides welcomed the participation of ExxonMobil in partnership with Total and Hellenic Petroleum in two offshore exploration license areas to the West and South-West of Crete and look forward to forging new partnerships in this sector. Both sides discussed as well the potential opportunities for U.S. investment in the renewable energy sector, in light of the recently ratified Greek Law entitled “Modernization of Environmental Legislation.”
The U.S. and Greek delegations committed to continued cooperation in all of the areas discussed in the Strategic Dialogue Energy Working Group./ibna