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U.S. ties geopolitics to energy

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The geopolitical aspects of the oil and natural gas sector have a direct impact on the economic interest of the United States, a diplomat said.

Washington announced the creation of the new Bureau of Energy Resources within the U.S. State Department. The department was spawned by work mandated by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009. The task of the new bureau is to address foreign policy, security and economic issues related to oil and gas over the next 25 years.

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"The first of these (task for the new bureau) is managing the geopolitics of today's energy economy," Carlos Pascual, U.S. special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, said during a conference call with reporters. "We think that that is absolutely critical in understanding the market dynamics that affect stability of oil and gas markets, and that has a direct impact on our economic interests here in the United States."

State Department officials are involved in the diplomatic aspects of natural gas pipelines planned for European and Asian countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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The bureau aims to ensure supplies are stable and affordable in the United States while at the same time buffered against supply disruptions. The International Energy Agency in July called on member states to release strategic petroleum reserves because of market disruptions brought on by the oil production shortages from war-torn Libya.

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Pascual added the agency would work to use shale and other non-conventional forms of natural resources.

"The intent of this is to be able to jumpstart relationships that range from extending technical assistance and environmental expertise on issues such as the development of shale gas" with other governments, said Pascual.

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