U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to the Middle East to discuss increased oil production with leaders after they reportedly snubbed President Joe Biden’s requests.
Johnson met with United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nayhan on Wednesday and is traveling to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman later in the day, according to The Wall Street Journal. Johnson is reportedly set to deliver a message on behalf of the West, urging the two oil-rich nations to boost production.
“The Prime Minister set out his deep concerns about the chaos unleashed by Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and stressed the importance of working together to improve stability in the global energy market,” the British government said in a readout of Johnson’s meeting with the UAE leader earlier Wednesday.
Within months of President Joe Biden halting the Keystone Pipeline, pausing new oil and gas leases on federal lands, and imposing further restrictions on U.S. oil companies, U.S. oil imports from Russia set a new record in March.
According to International Energy Agency, U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia reached 22.9 million barrels in March, the highest level since August 2010. They had reached over 25 million barrels in April 2009.
Crude oil imports from Russia in March stood at 6.1 million barrels, making Russia the third-largest oil exporter to the United States.
The crash in U.S. oil production is growing worse as freezing temperatures and power outages in Texas prevent pumping the fossil fuels from the ground.
Bloomberg reported that oil production has plunged by close to 40% — the most ever, according to traders and industry executives with direct knowledge of the operations.