Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Welcome back, everyone. Good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are. I'm Derek Brower, the FT's US energy editor. I'm in New York, so anybody joining me on this side of the Atlantic, welcome. One person who is, and I am delighted is joining us, is the United States Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm for the conference's last session. Truly leaving the best last, I think. I don't know about that. Before we begin, a note of housekeeping. Please, any questions that you have for Madam Secretary, please send them in using the box, chat box, on the right of your screen. And second, if you want to tweet about this, please use the hashtag #FTEnergyTran. Madam Secretary, welcome. Let's begin. If I could I'd like to start with Europe because a lot of our audience is there. There's an energy crisis under way, as you know, in Europe. Gas and electricity prices are at historic highs. Do you blame Russia for this? Well, we're certainly watching it. I'll say this. I just got back from Poland and met with a number of the eastern and central European countries, and there was a deep concern that there was withholding of supplies and manipulation of the market in order to demonstrate, if you will, the indispensability of Russian gas as Germany considers its Nord Stream 2 approvals. However, I don't have information to say that that is the case. We are watching it very carefully. Obviously, the US wants to make sure... and there is a ripple effect in the United States, as well. We are seeing natural gas prices shoot up also. So we are undergoing a process internally to the federal government just to let you know to look at this issue and to make sure that we're doing all we can, both here and in Europe, to ensure that people have the supplies they need. Does that include the possibility of investigating market manipulation by Gazprom as the Polish government has called for? Well, I know the Polish government was very concerned about that as well. Suffice it to say we're aware of the request. We're aware of the fact that there does seem to be what... well, I say a choke point and not as much supply. But there are also, I understand - and it's true in the United States, too - this ramp-up after Covid takes a little bit more time than people would like given how quickly winter is emerging. And it is projected to be a bit of a colder winter. So there are those issues. Let me just say that we are looking at it. It sounds... I mean, those are fairly moderate comments. It sounds like you're trying to cool some of the rhetoric. Because some of your colleagues in Europe are talking about this as an energy war almost. We're in the grip of another energy war. Do you fear that it could spiral into that? I worry about that, certainly. I mean, you don't want to see energy made into a weapon. And the weaponisation of energy is a serious problem. I'm not saying that is happening right now. I am saying that we understand the concerns, and that, given the enormous jack-up in prices, there deserves to be special eyes on it, and we are looking at it. But at the moment, we don't have a conclusion on that. Is there anything you think the US can do on the supply side, for example, to help? And I ask because the previous administration, as you know, talked of freedom gas and so on helping to break Europe's dependence on Russian gas. Should the US, or can the US, send more gas right now? Most of the cargoes that are sold in the spot market seem to be bought by Asia right now, and the market is sucking them in one direction and not arriving in Europe. Is there something more that the US can do to help relieve Europe? You know, again, we have an inter-agency process looking at this. I mean, as you know and as Europe knows, I mean, we are in a position where we preside over a free market. And so we don't own the means of supply and we don't own the ability to direct. And so the question is, what are the tools at our disposal to make sure that there is supply that's adequate both for Europe, as well as for the United States. I will say that our LNG supply at this moment is almost to the cap of the existing capacity. So you'd have to build out... even though new terminals are authorised, they have not been built out yet. It would take, obviously, some time for that to happen to jack up additional supply. So it's not as obvious of a solution as one might otherwise think. The capacity limits are almost reached. Let me stay with the international mark and ask about oil prices because WTI, West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark is near $80. Brent is above $80. Levels that some economists say will start to slow the recovery, the economic recovery, from the pandemic. The administration has expressed its alarm about gasoline prices, and President Biden has talked about them. Do you think Opec is doing enough? Last week, they met, or earlier this week, they met. And after the US asked for more supply they stuck to their existing plan. Is the Opec group of producers, Opec-Plus, are they doing enough to cool what could be a damaging oil price rally? Well, I think that everybody was hoping that there would be additional supply made available so that prices would not be jacked up. And the president, President Biden, has made it clear that he wants Americans to have access to affordable and reliable energy, obviously, at the pump, but natural gas too. The administration really is committed to doing everything we can to make sure that everybody is paying - that Americans are paying - fair and affordable gas prices. This is a similar problem, right? We don't own our own gas supply or oil supply. And so the market is what the market is. Presidents don't control the cost of gasoline. And we also are aware that we want to move into a clean energy environment, and that, while this transition occurs, we want for people to not bear the cost of that in terms of at the pump. And the president, even in deciding on how to pay for his big agenda in Congress, he made it clear that raising gas taxes, for example, is not on the table. He drew a red line for that. So he does not want to raise costs on everyday people for anything. And so, while we go through this transition, he wants to incentivise the development of clean technologies and clean fuel supplies without having everyday citizens pay for the cost of that. And the White House has said that all tools - I think Jen Psaki said this earlier this week - all tools are on the table in terms of trying to deal with this price surge. Does that include releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, for example? Yep, it's a tool, for sure. And is that a possibility in the next coming weeks? Well, it's a tool that's under consideration. There are regularly scheduled sales already set. A regularly scheduled sale set. So that might provide some. But again, it's very much marginal assistance overall given the scope of the problems. But nonetheless, that is a tool, and certainly the president will consider that. And possibly restricting exports. Is that also on the table? That's a tool that we have not used, but it is a tool as well. And as I say, we have an intergovernmental process that is going on.