Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, began a day-long visit to the energy powers of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, exploring “other potential measures to increase oil production”.
He said he was trying to build an international coalition to deal with the consequences of Vladimir Putin’s “brutal” invasion of Ukraine.
“The world must wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons and starve Putin’s addiction to oil and gas,” he said in a statement. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi were “key international partners in this effort”, he added.
Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have spare crude capacity that would allow them to ramp up production over several months, but they have committed to joining the OPEC+ Producer Group’s production mechanism, which includes Russia.
Johnson meets with the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, before traveling to Riyadh to meet the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
They should discuss reducing energy and food prices. The Prime Minister will also focus on diversifying the UK’s energy supply and working with international partners to boost renewable energy.
“We will work with them to ensure regional security, support the humanitarian relief effort and stabilize global energy markets over the longer term,” he said.
Both the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have become frustrated with the perceived lack of US attention to Gulf security under President Joe Biden.
Abu Dhabi has sought greater defensive protection from its Western partners following drone and missile attacks by Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Johnson has been criticized for seeking help from governments criticized for their poor human rights record and involvement in the war in Yemen.
The statement said the prime minister will discuss “shared strategic priorities” on the situation in Iran and Yemen and “support for human rights and civil society”.