The UK is launching its latest North Sea offshore licensing round on Friday as the nation looks to bolster its energy security in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA), the industry regulator, is inviting applications for licences to explore and potentially develop 898 blocks and part-blocks.

Conspicuously flagged by the Conservative government since Liz Truss became prime minister at the start of September, ministers believe the round — the 33rd since UK licensing began — could lead to the award of more than 100 permits.