WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US and Japanese government officials agreed to promote global access to natural gas and strengthen energy security during their second annual Strategic Energy Partnership talks, the Department of State said Monday.
“The United States and Japan committed to work together to promote open and competitive energy markets, including the development of a global market for natural gas,” a joint statement released by the Department of State said. “They also confirmed the importance of working closely to expand public-private partnerships and foster business-to-business connections.”
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In addition, US Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Francis Fannon will announce a $50 million US foreign aid grant to strengthen energy security in Asia during a three-day conference in Singapore that began on Monday, the Department of State announced in a press release.
Fannon will promote an initiative titled Enhancing Development and Growth Through Energy (EDGE), the release explained.
“Under Asia EDGE, the Department of State and USAID [Agency for International Development] will contribute an initial investment of nearly $50 million to a whole-of-government approach to strengthen energy security and catalyze regional growth,” the department stated.
Through Asia EDGE, the US will provide technical assistance to help partner governments develop their energy markets, modernize energy infrastructure, and set transparent best-management practices, the release noted.
In addition, Fannon will meet with energy ministers from the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states, as well as the US-Asian Business Council, according to the release.
Prior to the Department of State’s release, a broad range of US and Japanese government agencies participated in the second meeting of the Japan-United States Strategic Energy Partnership in Tokyo, Japan on October 24.
According to the forecast of the Department of Energy, US exports of natural gas are expected to double in 2018 compared to 2017, a year when the United States became a net exporter of natural gas for the first time in nearly 60 years.