DAA Daily

British PM Johnson visits Middle East to Explore Options to Russian Oil

Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, visited Saudi Arabia on Wednesday in the aim of encouraging the oil producer to increase supply and relieve pressure on global markets, stepping up the quest for alternatives to Russian energy. However, opponents at home saw Mr. Johnson’s efforts to decrease Western reliance on Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, as a case of “going from one dictator to another.” 

Mr. Johnson has labeled Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which he also visited on Wednesday, as “important international partners” as European economies seek to wean themselves off Russian fossil fuel imports. Before leaving London, Mr. Johnson stated that the world must “deal with the new reality” created by the invasion of Ukraine. Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, oil prices reached a 14-year high of close to $130 per barrel. However, amid ongoing ceasefire discussions, the price dropped to around $100 on Wednesday.  Johnson was skeptical about his ability to use the spare capacity of the Saudi-led Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to cushion the effect of Russian fossil fuel divestment.  However, he emphasized that the west required energy independence, and that countries had made a mistake by becoming overly reliant on Russian hydrocarbons, allowing Putin to blackmail nations and hold their economies hostage.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has faced lots of criticism for making his flight to Saudi, as the British public, and international community, do not see eye to eye with many Saudi Policies and practices, especially concerning those regarding the LGBT community, as well as liberals, and some who speak against the country itself. When looking at the situation of oil inflation, it’s clear to see that it is very similar to the 1970s oil embargo by Saudi Arabia to the west for supporting Israel. The gulf countries are controlling oil prices in order to bring western economies to their knees. We can also see examples of gulf countries moving into fill Russian gaps, for example the EU has been speaking with Qatar and Kuwait in order to fill this “Oil Vacuum.”

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