LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday as part of efforts to secure additional oil flows and increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over Ukraine.
With Britain, like much of the West, facing spiralling energy prices, Johnson is keen to encourage producers to increase output and secure other supplies to try to help consumers and reduce reliance on Russia exports.
Johnson’s spokesman has said the British leader will raise human rights issues in Saudi Arabia, including the execution of 81 men, but critics say London should not be turning to a country that has held its biggest mass execution in decades.
The prime minister will meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in the United Arab Emirates before travelling to Saudi Arabia to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
‘The U.K. is building an international coalition to deal with the new reality we face. The world must wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons starve Putin’s addiction to oil and gas’, Johnson said in a statement before the meetings.
‘Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are key international partners in that effort. We will work with them to ensure regional security, support the humanitarian relief effort and stabilise global energy markets for the longer term’.
The search for new energy supplies has put into doubt Britain’s push to drive down emission to meet its net zero target by 2050, with officials looking at ways to increase oil and gas production at home, as well as abroad.
During the visit, Saudi Arabia, the third – largest supplier of diesel to Britain, will also confirm that its alfanar Group will invest 1 billion pounds ($1.3 billion) in the Lighthouse Green Fuels Project in Teeside, northeastern England, which hopes to produce sustainable aviation fuel from waste at scale.