CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry Speak with CNBC’s Brian Sullivan
Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, and CNBC’s Brian Sullivan. The interview was first broadcast on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on March 13, 2019. Following is a link to video of the interview on CNBC.com:
Watch CNBC's exclusive interview with Mike Pompeo and Rick Perry
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: First to you Secretary Pompeo. You were just talking on stage about China. China would like to develop its own oil and gas assets in many disputed waters. What is the greatest tool that we have got from an energy policy perspective to blunt their growing influence and their desire to capture their own oil and gas in those disputed waters?
MIKE POMPEO: So Brian thanks for having me on the show. There's two. One is the rule of law. The fundamental idea that these energy sources belong to China. Everyone knows that to be true. So American diplomats need to do the hard work to make sure that the countries that own those resources get access to them. For their people. Second there's nobody who can innovate and work like American businesses. We're here at CERA where we're talking about the enormous energy abundance that's been created all across America. We can deliver for South Asia and Asia in the same way we've done for the rest of the world. That'll keep China at bay.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: Secretary Perry, should American companies be afraid to sell their oil and gas to China right now, given China's own ambitions.
RICK PERRY: Well obviously we're looking for the market in the global marketplace. The American producer has the ability to get out there and compete with anybody around the world. So where it goes. We want to send the message that listen, American energy is available, our LNG is going to 34 countries now in five different continents, and you can get American energy and there aren't any strings attached. That's the message for -
BRIAN SULLIVAN: How far are we willing to go, Secretary Pompeo, on the economic side to blunt China's increased activity in those areas?
MIKE POMPEO: So President Trump's made clear what we want is a fair shot. We want tariffs that are even, non tariff barriers to be shut out. We want the rule of law transparency and contracts. When we get those things I am very confident that American companies will prevail. We can always outcompete.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: At the same time this is happening Germany and Russia are getting closer together, the second part of a very important pipeline called the Nord Stream 2 is being completed. It will further tie Russia and Germany together. What is the proper U.S. response to Germany moving closer to Russia from an energy perspective?
MIKE POMPEO: Well it's clear this is Germany giving the Russians money while others are defending them. We would urge them not to finish the pipeline. We want them to have energy diversity. I'm sure Secretary Perry has some real thoughts on this as well.
RICK PERRY: Well here's the real message. The American energy doesn't have strings attached, as I said. It's clear that Russian gas has strings attached. We think it's important for our friends and Europe, whether the Central Europeans or whether it's the Western Europeans, to know that they can get that LNG late in there from the United States, from Qatar, Australia, wherever it might be. Having diversity of fuel, diversity of supply, diversity of routes. That's the real key here. The American LNG has the ability to truly make Europe free from that Russian intervention.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: Secretary Perry do we have enough capacity and export capacity to Europe to even mitigate the impact of that Russian gas?
MIKE PERRY: Absolutely we can. Obviously we've got some infrastructure work that we need to do in the United States. We need to get those FERC commissioners out of the Senate in their work in getting those permits in. But get that permitting done so that this infrastructure can be built. Whether it's out of the Permian Basin, whether it's north out of the Bakken, or whether it's out of the Marcellus Shale. America can deliver the energy needs of a lot of our allies.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: Is energy, Secretary Pompeo, our greatest policy lever to affect foreign policy change?
MIKE POMPEO: Well we have a couple. Our Department of Defense is important lever as well. But I'm here at CERA because American energy security matters, the abundance. The fact that we're now the largest exporter of crude oil. That we've grown so much so fast gives us a lot of power, a lot of capacity to influence for good, all around the world.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: We are almost effectively energy independent. We probably could be if we decided not to export. How does that change the way you approach your job and dealings, with China with Russia?
MIKE POMPEO: So it changes everything. Every conversation we've had. I was in Vietnam. I was in the Philippines. I travel to the Middle East next week. Every one of those conversations was fundamentally different because of American energy. We didn't have the capacity to take our technology, our products, our pipelines, deliver them around the world, provide safe affordable energy, diversify energy resources for each of these countries. They'll be safer, the American people will be safer too.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: Should we keep up or extend the oil sanctions on Iran?
MIKE POMPEO: Yes.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: How long?
MIKE POMPEO: Until we get the change in behaviour that the people in the Middle East and the rest of the world so desperately need.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: Well you said you'd like to bring down the 0 barrels of export. Do you think that's possible?
MIKE POMPEO: Not gonna get ahead of myself or ahead of the President, but make no mistake, about it, that's the direction of travel. We want to deny Iran the resources to continue to underwrite Hezbollah, the Houthis in Yemen, a whole list of terrorists around the world. We want to deny them those resources when their behavior changes we’d be happy to invite them back into the community of nations.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: You know Secretary Perry about an hour down the road, the biggest U.S. gasoline refinery will go to the Saudis; I can go a little further and talk about Golden Pass a huge LNG export facility to be 71 percent funded by Qatar petroleum with Exxon and Conoco as minority partners. Do you worry that some of the tougher feelings that we have around could discourage foreign direct investment especially by those in Middle East?
RICK PERRY: I don't. I know everyone wants to do business in the United States. Just like Secretary Pompeo said. When you know that the rule of law is in place, when you know the transparency that's going to be there, people around the world want to do business with someone that they trust and they know that they can trust the United States to come forward with our product and give them what they traded for. I think this is great opportunities for us to solidify our relationships with other countries around the world coming in and being partners with us. That's how you build real coalitions.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: Will we be welcoming Chinese partnerships?
MIKE PERRY: Well we already do. I mean the Chinese are already investing here. If they will abide by the rule of law. If they'll show us that they'll be good partners, we'll trade with anybody in the world. But we're going to demand that they're good partners. That's the reason. We're looking at these sanctions and continuing these sanctions against Russia when they come into Crimea. It's the reason that we stand up to Iran and say no we're not going to allow that type of action. And the same message is going to be true to China. Where they're leaning in on those islands out in the South China Sea for no other reason than to keep other people from producing those. So powerful message here, you want to do business in the United States, we're more than happy to do it. But you're going to do it with transparency and you're going to do it in good faith. You're going to do it with the rule of law.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: Twenty years ago Venezuela produced about three point seven million barrels of oil per day. Today we don't know for sure. It's probably under a million barrels and going lower. People are eating garbage. The hospitals have no medicine. Money is worthless but bullets are invaluable. You believe that Cuba is propping up the Maduro regime. But what is the US willing to do about? How far are we willing to go in Venezuela?
MIKE POMPEO: Brian, it's not just my belief it's a fact. The Cuban regime has poised their model of economics on the Venezuelan people and you can see the massive humanitarian catastrophe that is only getting worse. Energy systems don't work electrical grids don't work. The socialist model state control. It's just a failed model that's causing enormous grief to the Venezuelan people. United States is determined to work along with allies: the Brazilians the Colombians the Paraguayans, and now 50 plus companies have recognized that Maduro is illegitimate. It's time for him to go and we're going to continue to do whatever work it takes. The President said every option is on the table to deliver to the Venezuelan people the democracy they deserve. And then ultimately we'll build back an economy where they can again have the wealth that they have under their own feet and offshore in Venezuela so that that's going to be a once once great country.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: They are still selling some barrels, we tracked their ships. Getting loans potentially from Russia, Cuba perhaps trading oil for dollars for help. Is military action off the table?
MIKE POMPEO: I mean President's been very clear. We're gonna make this happen. Every option still remains out there and available to the United States. We'll work with our allies to get the right outcome here point there Brian exactly right look at look who their friends are. The Cubans. The Russians. Hezbollah, the Iranians in Venezuela today. This the cast of characters, this is not what the Venezuelan people need or want. It's not what they deserve. And America is going to help deliver them out of this difficult place.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: And US company Secretary Perry, once Maduro is gone, whenever that may be. Should they be willing and able and free to go into Venezuela under a new regime?
RICK PERRY: Oh absolutely. And I think that's the real message, that the American companies want to see this regime out of the way so that we can come back in. Do the humanitarian aid. Do the medicines. I mean the idea that they block that. And that's everything you need to know about the Maduro regime right there in that one picture. Americans are ready to help American companies are ready to go in there. Once he's out of the way Americans will be first in line to be able to deliver to those people the type of assistance that they need. And that they deserve.