Fact Sheet: The U.S.-Brazil Strategic Energy Dialogue
Today in Washington, President Obama and President Rousseff reviewed the accomplishments of the presidential-level Strategic Energy Dialogue (SED). On the occasion of President Obama’s March 2011 visit to Brazil, they announced the creation of this Dialogue to support the two countries’ common goals of developing safe, secure and affordable supplies of energy for economic growth, energy security, and the transition to a clean energy economy. Priority areas of cooperation in the SED include oil and natural gas, biofuels, clean energy and efficiency, and clean energy. Since then, the United States and Brazil have undertaken collaborative activities with the goal of strengthening our energy relationship, increasing bilateral trade in energy-related goods and services, and enhancing national and shared energy security. In January, the two governments also committed, through the U.S.-Brazil Commercial Dialogue, to develop a work plan related to the energy sector to further enhance the private sector’s role in the SED. The partnerships resulting from this Dialogue will seek to create jobs in both countries, make energy supplies more secure, and help address the challenge of global climate change.
Oil and Natural Gas
- The United States and Brazil have held technical workshops and events involving government regulators and private industry to exchange information and share best practices on common oil and gas issues. This work included a workshop on offshore technology in Rio de Janeiro in October 2011 and a video conference on disaster response and the use of dispersants in February 2012. These activities brought together the expertise of the U.S. Departments of Energy, Commerce and the Interior, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency, with the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, the National Petroleum Agency (ANP) that regulates Brazil’s oil and gas sector, and national petroleum company Petrobras. The U.S. and Brazilian governments will continue a robust agenda of collaborative activities in 2012, including the Department of the Interior’s April workshop on offshore safety and spill response issues such as well integrity, subsea containment, and national contingency plans, and the Department of Energy’s shale gas development workshop in May 2012. Additionally, the U.S. Geological Survey will continue to engage with Brazilian counterparts on conventional and unconventional resource assessments.
- Under the Dialogue, the United States and Brazil are committed to identifying and implementing solutions to key challenges for the safe and efficient development of oil and natural gas reserves in both countries through technical, policy and regulatory cooperation.
- Biofuels cooperation under the SED focuses on bilateral research and development activities, and standards cooperation; joint work with other nations in the Western Hemisphere and Africa; and multilateral work on the sustainable production and use of modern bioenergy, including through the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP). This includes work established under the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding to Advance Biofuels Cooperation. Additionally, in March 2011 our nations launched a Partnership for Aviation Biofuels to establish common standards and specifications, and to facilitate the commercialization and expansion of aviation biofuels.
- The U.S. and Brazilian governments are working to enhance methods for life-cycle modeling of biofuels sustainability, including greenhouse gases and land-use change; and exchanging information on maximizing fuel economy of ethanol-optimized engines in flex-fuel vehicles. To expand ongoing work, the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Petrobras is taking steps to sign with Brazil a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) on next generation biofuels.
- In addition, the U.S. and Brazilian governments are coordinating efforts on the development of sustainable aviation biofuels. This includes efforts towards the establishment of common standards and specifications for aviation biofuels, the strengthening of public-private partnerships through engagement with the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuel Initiative (CAAFI) and the Brazilian Alliance for Aviation Biofuels (ABRABA), and engagement in multilateral fora.
- The U.S. and Brazilian governments also have made significant progress in providing joint technical assistance to El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Senegal in their efforts to strengthen policy frameworks, implement blending laws, and develop domestic production capabilities.
- The U.S. and Brazil also collaborate multilaterally as leading voices in GBEP, which held a joint capacity building forum in Bamako, Mali in March 2012 with the Economic Community of West African States to develop and deploy sustainable bioenergy throughout the region.
Hydropower and Wind Energy
- Brazil and the United States have identified sustainable development of hydropower and wind power development as strategic areas for increased partnership. The two countries will work together through the Sustainable Development of Hydropower Initiative under the Clean Energy Ministerial process. Additionally, public and private-sector stakeholders will explore the technical aspects, benefits, and market opportunities of distributed and community wind development in Brazil, which has the potential to expand energy access to more rural areas and to reduce dependence on fossil fuel as a power source in both countries.
- The U.S. and Brazilian governments are focusing on the major efficiency gains possible through effective public policies and compatible standards in the building and industrial sectors. In August 2011, the Dialogue convened a workshop on industrial energy efficiency in Rio de Janeiro that identified key opportunities of mutual interest and included a demonstration energy assessment of a textile plant in Brazil. As a result, Brazil’s Electric Energy Research Center (CEPEL) and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are exploring opportunities for a partnership in this area. We also have agreed to share technical information to support the establishment of an independent testing facility in Brazil for efficiency ratings for building materials – including high-efficiency windows, cool roofs, and advanced insulation – following a workshop on this topic held in São Paolo in November 2011.
- Brazil and the United States are pursuing smart grid technology deployment and are working to identify opportunities for greater private-sector partnerships. Additionally, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency has an active program in Brazil, including funding of a smart grid pilot implementation strategy for a major Brazilian electrical utility. The Department of Energy and the Ministry of Mines and Energy of Brazil currently are planning a workshop to be held in 2012.
- In the area of earth sciences, Brazil and the United States have committed to cooperate on the Green Ocean Amazon 2014 (GOAmazon2014) experiment during 2014 in an effort to gain a better understanding of the tropics’ role in the Earth’s climate. The project will include the deployment of an Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) mobile facility in the tropical rainforest near Manaus, Brazil. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Ministry of Science and Technology of Brazil are taking steps to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation, in conjunction with our respective research and academic institutions.
- U.S. and Brazilian technical and regulatory agencies continue to collaborate to help assure that nuclear power for peaceful purposes is generated safely, securely, and responsibly. The first civil nuclear technical workshop was held in Washington, D.C. in August 2011. It served to strengthen the U.S.-Brazil partnership through the exploration of key issues of mutual interest and provided the opportunity for Brazilian and U.S. participants to meet with counterparts from the public and private sectors. The United States looks forward to exploring with Brazil areas for technical cooperation ranging from site selection and licensing to reactor long-term sustainability, reactor life extension, severe accident management, and radioactive waste management, among other potential commercial activities.
- Nuclear security and nonproliferation activities are essential to facilitate peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The United States looks forward to partnering with Brazil to strengthen global efforts on the safe, secure, and peaceful development of civilian nuclear power, advancing discussions on topics of mutual interest in the areas of nuclear safeguards and security and sharing U.S. experience in supporting nuclear security Centers of Excellence globally.