The United States Should Collect Data on Foreign Energy Investment Again
In 2022, the United States has entered a new era of great power competition and energy policy challenges. As Congress works to reform policies to address emerging threats, improving transparency of foreign energy investment in the United States should be a major priority.
In the past, the United States recognized the risks of foreign energy investments and passed a law to require transparency. In the 1970s, at the height of the nation’s energy crisis and conflict with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), lawmakers passed legislation to track foreign investment in American energy. The Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977, which created the Department of Energy (DOE), also established the Energy Information Administration (EIA) within DOE to collect information about energy in the United States and across the world.
One of EIA’s responsibilities listed in the act was to collect data on foreign investment in U.S. energy:
“In accordance with the Department of Energy Organization Act, 42 U.S.C. 7257(8), the Energy Information Administration (EIA) prepares an annual report for the Secretary of Energy and for transmittal to Congress that summarizes foreign investment, energy operations, and financial performance in U.S. energy enterprises. The information is available for use by the Congress, government agencies, and the public.”
The EIA used to release annual reports like “Profiles of Foreign Direct Investment in U.S. Energy” or “Acquisitions and Divestitures in U.S. Energy by Foreign Direct Investors 2007.” However, in 2011, the Department of Energy stopped collecting the form that was the foundation for these reports. According to EIA, a 15.2 million dollar budget cut in FY 2011 suspended the usage of the form (EIA-28), the data collection process, and any reports published using the data.