UK’s Johnson visits Saudi Arabia, seeks more oil output

Mar 15, 2022, 7:51 AM | Updated: 4:36 pm

LONDON (AP) — 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.

The controversial visit has sparked an outcry of protest from U.K. lawmakers and rights groups, coming just days after Saudi Arabia said it executed 81 people in the largest known mass execution in the kingdom’s modern history.

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 dialing 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.

Ahead of the trip, Johnson said Western leaders made a “terrible mistake” by letting Putin “get away with” annexing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. He wrote in the Daily Telegraph that Western dependence on Russian energy supplies had emboldened Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The world cannot be subject to this continuous blackmail,” Johnson wrote. “As long as the West is economically dependent on Putin, he will do all he can to exploit that dependence.”

But many U.K. lawmakers, including those in Johnson’s own Conservative party, questioned the decision to turn to Saudi Arabia, citing the recent mass execution and the kingdom’s human rights record.

Defending his trip, Johnson told reporters in London that “if we are going to stand up to Putin’s bullying,” it will be necessary to talk to other energy producers.

His spokesman said Johnson will raise the issue of the executions with the government in Riyadh during his visit.

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.

Both have so far stuck with Russia and the OPEC+ agreement that was set into motion during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to lift oil prices. The group, consisting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies led by Russia and Saudi Arabia, calls for a gradual monthly release of more oil onto the market. But the agreement has been in place since well before Russia’s war in Ukraine drove up oil prices to their highest in years.

Western leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, have signaled that current wartime energy security demands that allied nations pump more.

___

Associated Press writer Aya Batrawy in Dubai contributed to this report.

___

Follow all AP stories on Russia’s war on Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Randal Worcester walks out of the Crawford County Justice Center in Van Buren, Ark., on Aug....
Associated Press

2 Arkansas deputies filmed in violent arrest fired from jobs

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Two Arkansas deputies who were caught on video violently arresting a suspect outside a convenience store in August have been fired, Crawford County Sheriff Jimmy Damante said Thursday. Damante told Fort Smith television station KHBS that deputies Levi White and Zachary King had been fired but did not elaborate on […]
16 hours ago
FILE - A wolf is shown in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo., in this file photo provided by the Natio...
Associated Press

Early data indicates Idaho wolf population is holding steady

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s wolf population appears to be holding steady despite recent changes by lawmakers that allow expanded methods and seasons for killing wolves, the state’s top wildlife official said Thursday. Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Ed Schriever told lawmakers on the Natural Resources Interim Committee that preliminary data on human-caused […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

WVa Supreme Court OKs non-public school scholarship program

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A program that incentivizes West Virginia families to pull their children out of K-12 public schools by offering them state-funded scholarships will be able to resume, after the state Supreme Court issued an order Thursday reversing a lower court’s ruling. The Hope Scholarship Program, which was scheduled to commence this school […]
16 hours ago
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge follows through on a solo home run, his 62nd of the season, as Texas ...
Associated Press

Boosted by Judge, Yankees’ YES Network viewers increase 27%

NEW YORK (AP) — Boosted by Aaron Judge’s pursuit of Roger Maris’ American League home run record, Yankees games on the team’s YES Network averaged 368,000 viewers in the New York market this year, up 27% from 2021 and the most in 11 seasons. The network said Thursday the figure was for 126 telecasts. YES’s […]
16 hours ago
FILE - In this image released by the Saudi Royal Palace, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ri...
Associated Press

A bump and a miss: Saudi oil cut slaps down Biden’s outreach

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday effectively acknowledged the failure of one of his biggest and most humiliating foreign policy gambles: a fist-bump with the de-facto leader of Saudi Arabia, the crown prince associated with human rights abuses. Biden’s awkward encounter with Mohammed bin Salman in July was a humbling attempt to mend […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Nexus Services President Mike Donovan speaks at a rally in Falls Church, Va., on Aug. 15, 20...
Associated Press

Men charged with defrauding Florida school shooter’s brother

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — The head of a Virginia company accused of exploiting immigration detainees seeking bail has now been charged with defrauding the brother of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz. The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office said Mike Donovan, the CEO of Nexus Services in Verona, Virginia, was arrested Wednesday after being indicted on […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
UK’s Johnson visits Saudi Arabia, seeks more oil output