The appointment comes at a key time for global energy politics, as the US re-asserts itself as an energy powerhouse amid international crises in oil and gas centres in the Middle East and Russia.
Hochstein will lead the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, according to the Wall Street Journal. The Department has not publicly announced the appointment and did not comment on the report.
The bureau has been working closely with European nations to help them become less dependent on Russian natural gas as conflict churns in Ukraine.
Hochstein is replacing special envoy Carlos Pascual, effective 1 August. Pascual announced in June he was stepping down to join the Center on Global Energy Policy, a research group.
Hochstein, a Democrat, has served as the bureau’s deputy assistant secretary for energy diplomacy since 2011, according to his bio on the State Department website.
In that role, he has overseen the Office of Middle East & Asia and the Office of Europe, the Western Hemisphere & Africa. He has focused on “promoting US interests to ensure energy resources are used to increase economic opportunity, stability and prosperity around the world”.
At a congressional hearing this week, Hochstein said that the “overall sea change in US 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”.