By Laura Barron-Lopez - 07/25/14 11:47 AM EDT
The State Department named Amos Hochstein as its new acting envoy for international energy affairs on Friday.
Hochstein will replace Carlos Pascual, who announced his plans to step down last month, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Hochstein takes the reigns at a critical time for the administration's energy and climate diplomacy.
Pascual will be joining the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. He served as special energy envoy since 2011. On his way out, Pascual stressed the increasingly important role energy issues will play in the national security of the U.S.
"Energy has become such a fundamental issue in national security and economic prosperity that it has to be integrated into our foreign policy," Pascual said in an interview last week.
Hochstein will likely play a central role in shaping the administration's strategy toward Russia.
In testimony before the Senate this week, Hochstein said the U.S is in the middle of a "global energy transformation," having risen as the biggest producer of both oil and natural gas.
"It is now more important than ever that the United States and the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources work diligently to ensure that energy resources are used to drive economic growth, stability, and cooperation, rather than conflict," Hochstein said at the Senate hearing on the implications of international energy and climate change policies.
"This overall sea change in U.S. energy balances has had significant international energy market implications as vast quantities of imported energy once destined for the United States are now consumed elsewhere in the world markets," Hochstein added.