According to a Reuters news, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has urged the global oil industry to work with President Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe and to punish the “bad actors” on the world stage. He was addressing the participants of a conference in Houston, where U.S. oil and gas executives, energy luminaries and officials of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) gather annually to discuss global energy development.
Pompeo said, “Washington would use all its economic tools to help deal with the situation in Venezuela, which is mired in a years-long economic crisis and where socialist President Nicolas Maduro is maintaining power despite being disavowed by the US and about 50 other countries”.
The US has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran. Washington re-imposed oil sanctions on Iran to curb its nuclear, missile and regional activities. “We’re committed to bringing Iranian crude oil exports to zero as quickly as market conditions will permit,” said Pompeo.
He went on to the extent of saying, “We need to roll up our sleeves and compete – by facilitating investment, encouraging partners to buy from us, and by punishing bad actors.” He also declared, “U.S. oil and gas export boom had given the country the ability to meet energy demand.”
Referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe, Pompeo warned, “We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the NordStream II project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies.”
Pompeo also met with top oil executives for about an hour to try to persuade energy companies to help the administration’s efforts to boost crude exports to Asia and to support its policy of isolating Iran. The US seems adamant at making significant progress on a Middle East security alliance over the next few months. The alliance is an attempt to form a US-backed bloc of Sunni Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait as a bulwark against Shi’ite Iranian influence in the Middle East.
Pompeo criticized China for “blocking energy development in the South China Sea through coercive means,” which he said prevents Southeast Asian countries from accessing more than US$2.5 trillion in recoverable energy reserves.
Pompeo also termed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.