UK's Boris Johnson to visit UAE and Saudi Arabia for talks on easing fuel crisis

British prime minister will also discuss Green Energy agenda

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold urgent talks with leaders of the UAE and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, hoping to ease the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Johnson will meet Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, before flying to Saudi Arabia to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Downing Street said they were expected to discuss efforts to improve energy security and reduce volatility in energy and food prices, which is affecting businesses and consumers in the UK and regional stability in parts of the Middle East.

The talks on energy would also encompass regional security and humanitarian relief, Mr Johnson's office said.

His key focus will be on trying to encourage the countries to increase oil output by at least a million barrels a day to offset the energy emergency.

“The UK is building an international coalition to deal with the new reality we face,“ Mr Johnson said. “The world must wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons.”

He said Saudi Arabia and the UAE were “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.”

Fuel prices in Britain have almost doubled in a year, reaching a record £2 a litre as Russia's invasion causes an energy crisis. Reuters

Downing Street said Mr Johnson would also discuss “shared strategic priorities” in the region, including Iran and Yemen.

His office said the UAE and Saudi Arabia were Britain’s two largest economic partners in the Middle East, with “bilateral trade worth £12.2bn and £10.4bn in 2020 respectively”.

It said that Britain was in advanced negotiations for a trade deal with the Gulf Co-operation Council, “which will boost our trade and investment with the whole region” after the country left the EU.

It highlighted the £1 billion ($1.3bn) investment made by Saudi Arabia’s Alfanar Group into the Lighthouse Green Fuels Project in Teeside, northern England.

Mr Johnson will meet representatives from Alfanar Group during his visit.

The company aims to be the first to produce sustainable aviation fuel from waste in Britain, with the product potentially producing 80 per cent less greenhouse gas than fossil fuels.

Mr Johnson is expected to visit the Saudi company Sabic at its innovation centre in Riyadh after the its investment of £850 million in decarbonisation operations in England.

The UK government said Saudi Arabia was the third largest supplier of diesel to the UK and praised the kingdom's commitment at the Cop26 meeting in Glasgow to net zero by 2060.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are investing heavily in green technology at home and in the UK.

Updated: March 16, 2022, 4:41 AM