Boris Johnson’s government announced last week that the U.K. will phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of the year
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is visiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday as part of his efforts to press for increased oil production from the Gulf states to reduce dependence on Russian energy.
In a statement released by his office Tuesday, Johnson called Saudi Arabia and the UAE ‘key international partners’ in his bid to wean the West off Russian oil and gas, improve energy security and coordinate action against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Johnson planned to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in the United Arab Emirates, then travel to Saudi Arabia for a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He is expected to talk about increasing Gulf energy supplies as well as discuss international coordination in dialling up diplomatic and economic pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The U.K. is building an international coalition to deal with the new reality we face. The world must wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons and starve Putin’s addiction to oil and gas, Johnson said in the statement. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are key international partners in that effort.
Johnson is also seeking to boost Saudi investment in the U.K.’s renewable energy sector. During the trip, Saudi Arabia’s Alfanar group is expected to confirm a new 1 billion pound ($1.3 billion) investment in a sustainable aviation fuel project in northern England.
Johnson’s government announced last week that the U.K. will phase out the import of Russian oil and oil products by the end of the year. But the U.K. is much less reliant on Russia fuel than its European allies, taking about 3% of its gas from Russia, Johnson said.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are top OPEC oil producers and have the spare capacity to pump more oil, but have given no indication of an imminent change in their oil production policy despite rising energy prices due to the Russian war on Ukraine.