US to strengthen energy partnerships in Africa, says US Energy Secretary

25th October 2017 By: Kim Cloete - Creamer Media Correspondent

US to strengthen energy partnerships in Africa, says US Energy Secretary

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry says his government is committed to strengthening its energy partnerships with African countries, but has called for a clear and transparent regulatory environment.

“There is no more important message that governing bodies can send to both the US government and the private sector than to be very open, very transparent and to adhere to the rule of law.”

Perry, who is in Cape Town for Africa Oil Week, has met with African energy ministers and has held several meetings and workshops to bring “President Trump’s energy dominance message to Africa”.

“This has been a great trip for us in terms of relationships. I hope the message is loud and clear that we want to be good partners with South Africa, and throughout the African continent.”

Perry said he and his delegation had held successful meetings with their ministerial counterparts in energy in South Africa, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria, among others. 

“We talked about a lot of opportunities in [liquefied natural gas (LNG)] and coal, as well as delivering power to places in Africa.” 

In the lead-up to his visit, Perry said the continent of Africa was an important destination, as several African countries provided “some of the highest-valued petroleum in the world”.

“Egypt, Libya and Algeria are all leading producers in North Africa, which is typically seen as a distinct and much more developed region than sub-Saharan countries.”

He added that African governments could expect to see “see some signals over the next few months of continuing US interest”.

“My showing up [to Africa Oil Week] is a very powerful message of us working with Africa on energy issues . . . but you will see other stories where the US is going to be investing from the private and the public sector into African energy projects.”

Perry, a Texas native who was the longest-serving Governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015, said the US also supported African countries through the Africa Power Initiative.

He said energy projects would be particularly important for women in rural areas where there was no electricity.

“Energy will give women access to information, and it gives them light . . . and with light comes security. This is a very powerful reflection of what the US and the partnership can do on the continent,” Perry told the media briefing.

Perry, who said Texas was the twelfth-largest economy in the world, added that he had grown up in a rural part of Texas that did not have electricity until the year before his family moved into their childhood home.

“The technological advancements in some of the projects are going to bring about that same kind of transformative power to communities on this continent. It will change people’s lives forever.”

He said pointedly that it was the first time the US government had been back to Africa Oil Week in four years.

Apart from meeting with African energy ministers, Perry participated in a US Department of Energy-led workshop on sharing natural gas development experiences and highlighted a recently released handbook on Understanding Natural Gas and LNG Options, part of a new global US Department of Energy initiative.

It was Perry’s first visit to Cape Town, which he described as “the Santa Barbara of Africa”.