LIZ Truss’s Government has confirmed more than 100 new oil and gas licences will be opened up in the North Sea next month.

The UK Government is using the Russian invasion of Ukraine to justify expanding fossil fuel extraction as part of a strategy for more home-grown energy production.

The UK currently imports around nine per cent of its oil from Russia.

The new round of licensing for is expected to be launched by the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) in early October.

As well as backing the NSTA’s new licensing round, the moratorium has also been lifted on fracking in England – but not in Scotland.

UK Business and Energy Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “In light of Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and weaponisation of energy, strengthening our energy security is an absolute priority, and – as the Prime Minister said – we are going to ensure the UK is a net energy exporter by 2040.

“To get there we will need to explore all avenues available to us through solar, wind, oil and gas production - so it’s right that we’ve lifted the pause to realise any potential sources of domestic gas.”

Under the new licensing round, which follows the outcome of the climate compatibility checkpoint, the NSTA is expected to make a number of new ‘blocks’ of the UK Continental Shelf available, for applicants to bid for licences.

The UK Government believes the new licences will enable developers to search for commercially viable oil and gas sources within the areas of their licences.

Developers will still need to seek regulatory approval for any activities conducted within their licensed area, such as drilling or construction of infrastructure.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “The Prime Minister is moving swiftly to ensure the security of our energy supply and exploring the further potential of the North Sea is crucial to this.

“This new round of oil and gas licensing, which is expected to lead to more than 100 new licences, will not only safeguard our domestic supply and protect UK households, businesses and public services from volatile global prices, it will also support more than 70,000 energy sector jobs in Scotland.

“Supporting this sector has always been a vital part of our net zero strategy, ensuring we have energy resilience while investing in renewable sources such as wind, tidal and solar power.”