Ambassador Hale’s Remarks at the Inaugural Meeting of the Steering Committee for the IEP

Date: September 18, 2017

Location: Islamabad

Remarks as Prepared

Asalamu Alaikum.  It is a pleasure and an honor to open this inaugural meeting of the Steering Committee for the Integrated Energy Plan with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz.  Mr. Aziz has played a significant role for decades in Pakistan’s governance, growth, and development, in many different capacities.  Personally, I had the great honor of working with him during his last two years at the Foreign Ministry.  Thank you also to the other senior Pakistani government representatives who have joined us today, particularly the Secretary of Planning, and the Secretaries of the Power and Petroleum Divisions, under the newly-constituted Ministry of Energy.

Prime Minister Abbasi has made an impressive commitment to meeting Pakistan’s energy challenges, including through the addition of power generation projects.  Whether LNG, nuclear, coal, or renewable energy, these power projects will help close the energy demand gap.  Corresponding reforms in the energy sector, as well as improved power transmission and distribution, will complement the addition of power capacity.

The inauguration of the Integrated Energy Plan Steering Committee comes at an opportune time.  As the government looks to improve efficiencies in the energy sector, this strategic plan will help support sound energy planning at the national level.

Our American Department of Energy colleagues, many of whom are here today, developed Pakistan’s Integrated Energy Plan as a roadmap to deliver more efficient and reliable energy to the Pakistani people.  Over the last two years, our two nations’ teams have collaborated with a variety of ministries and agencies on landscape assessments, vision documents, sectoral analyses, and implementation processes.  We have met in Islamabad and even conducted a workshop in Bangkok last fall.  We have come a long way to reach this inaugural milestone, and ultimately, to begin implementing their recommendations.

America supports Pakistani leadership and efforts.  We are committed to continuing our joint work to develop and implement the plan, including through more frequent visits to Pakistan by our Department of Energy colleagues.  This path will not be easy, however.  It will require substantial inter-ministerial coordination and tough decisions along the way.  The integrated energy plan is designed to assist Pakistani leaders and experts as they make those tough decisions.  They will determine project priorities and investment requirements related to energy issues and develop cost-effective energy policy options.

Together, we can utilize our collective expertise to develop and implement the plan.

We wish the steering committee best of luck as it begins to implement changes that will benefit the people of Pakistan.  Shukreeya.