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U.S. energy secretary to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE next week, officials say

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week to work on "climate co-operation" and other issues, two Biden administration officials told Reuters on Friday.

The visit will run from Tuesday through Thursday, with Granholm visiting the UAE first, one of the officials said. It will be her first trip to the region as secretary.

"The visit is a continuation of long-standing engagement between the U.S. and this region," the officials said.

"Specifically, for the Department of Energy, it will move forward work both countries are doing on climate cooperation and to diversify the energy economy."

Granholm will participate in a meeting of the Net-Zero Producers Forum, a group of countries representing 40% of global oil and gas production, including the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the sources said.

The group, which works on ways to cut emissions such as abatement of methane and deployment of clean energy, was formed in 2021.

Saudi Arabia and UAE are both members of OPEC, which is debating whether to extend output cuts.

The Net-Zero meeting was planned long in advance and Granholm does not plan to discuss oil policy with counterparts on the trip, one of the sources said.

The Biden administration and Saudi Arabia are nearing an agreement for U.S. security guarantees and civilian nuclear assistance, even as an Israel-Saudi normalization deal envisioned as part of a Middle East "grand bargain" remains elusive, sources told Reuters this month.

Those talks are being led on the U.S. side by White House officials and the State Department, but not Granholm.