Top energy diplomacy official to step down

The State Department official in charge of global energy diplomacy issues is stepping down this fall to work in academia.

Carlos Pascual, State’s special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, will become a fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Since taking the State post when the office was created in 2011, Pascual has been a major figure in the United States’ efforts to free Ukraine and Europe from dependence on Russian oil and natural gas. He also played a role in efforts to enforce sanctions against Iran, the Journal said.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton started the energy affairs office. The office’s importance has grown as the United States has experienced an oil and gas boom and Iraq has surpassed Iran in terms of oil production.

Pascual, born in Cuba, announced his departure Friday to his staff.

 “I look forward to helping the Center deepen its leadership position on energy geopolitics and what it means for our foreign policy and economist interests,” Pascual said in a statement from Columbia. The center’s director and founder is Jason Bordoff, a former adviser to President Obama.