Thursday, October 27, 2016, Astana, Kazakhstan
Good afternoon everyone.
Thank you for joining us here today. I am very pleased to have this opportunity to return to Astana this week. And, I am especially delighted to be visiting Kazakhstan during the twenty-fifth anniversary of U.S. – Kazakhstan diplomatic relations, celebrating our mutual achievements on a broad range of areas, especially highlighting our innovation, our friendship, and our partnership. I also want to congratulate Kazakhstan on your election to the U.N. Security Council beginning in January 2017.
As you may know, the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs was just here on Tuesday discussing our broad and deep relationship with Kazakhstan. As the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Affairs, I am here to strengthen our already close cooperation on energy security and to participate in the Board Meeting of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
Almost exactly one year ago, in his remarks at Nazarbayev University here in Astana, Secretary of State Kerry noted U.S. support for Kazakhstan joining the World Trade Organization and lauded our broad cooperation on energy issues in the twenty-first century. While declining oil prices have slowed the global economy, it is evident that Kazakhstan is poised to successfully adapt to the changing oil market picture with expanding projects at the Tengiz and Kashagan oil fields. American companies have for many years seen Kazakhstan as an important place to invest, and the United States remains one of the top sources of foreign investment in Kazakhstan.
During my meetings here, I encouraged the Government of Kazakhstan to continue its efforts to make the country an even better place for foreign companies to do business. The U.S. government looks forward to continuing cooperation on this shared goal so that more existing and potential investors will see Kazakhstan as a good place to invest their money and resources. We are pleased that Kazakhstan signed the Paris Climate Agreement and look forward to its ratification by the end of the year.
With respect to transparency in the energy sector, I would like to congratulate Kazakhstan for being one of the first countries to implement the EITI’s revenue payment transparency procedures. In 2013, after six years of reporting, Kazakhstan became compliant with the EITI Standard. This means that for the last three years, Kazakhstan has had a functioning system that ensures regular disclosures of information about natural resource revenues. This achievement is something many countries continue to struggle with. The difficult work of implementing EITI has gone well in Kazakhstan. Every implementing country, including the United States, remains optimistic that the the EITI process will lead to greater transparency throughout government and industry.
The United States very much welcomes Kazakhstan’s commitment to energy security and global energy transformation, and we stand ready to work with partners in and out of government who will join us in these efforts.
Thank you. I’m happy to take a few questions.