CABINET member Jacob Rees-Mogg has suggested “every last drop” of oil should be extracted from the North Sea.

The Brexit Opportunities Minister made the comments as Number 10 confirmed its energy security strategy will be published on Thursday.

The energy strategy was promised in response to demands to divest from Russian fuel over its invasion of Ukraine and to address a growing cost-of-living crisis.

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In an interview with LBC, Rees-Mogg stressed the need for oil firms to be able to keep their profits amid calls for a windfall tax to ease spiralling bills “so they get every last drop out of the North Sea”.

During the interview, the Brexit Opportunities Minister also compared the fracking threat to “a rock fall in a disused coal mine”.

The National:

Rees-Mogg described fracking as “quite an interesting opportunity” amid suggestions the moratorium could be lifted in response to the Ukraine crisis.

In Scotland, there is already a formal moratorium banning fracking – ministers have suggested that the Scottish Government’s regulatory powers are not sufficient to outlaw it altogether.

However, former Scottish environment minister Paul Wheelhouse promised in 2019 that the Government would look at bringing forward new legislation in the future if needed.

The Welsh government has also banned fracking.

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During his media appearance, Rees-Mogg said he was “very impressed” by a Royal Society report that he says “pointed out that the seismic effect from fracking was equivalent to, if not slightly less than, a rock fall in a disused coal mine”.

“So I think one needs proportionality about the seismic issues,” he added.

Downing Street said the fracking moratorium, introduced in England in 2019 after the process triggered earthquakes, “still remains” but cited the invasion of Ukraine requiring a need to “look at all possible options for improving domestic energy supply”.

“This can only proceed if the science says it is safe, sustainable and causes only minimal disturbance to local communities,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

On further North Sea oil extraction, he added: “Certainly it’s right that domestic-produced oil and gas will play an important part of the transition to net zero.”

A spokesperson for the SNP said Rees-Mogg is "arguably the last person on the planet we should be listening to" regarding the earth's future.

"The climate emergency hasn't gone away," they went on. "That is why the Scottish Government remains absolutely committed to ending Scotland's contribution to climate change by 2045 in a just and fair way.

"However, for as long as Scotland remains part of a dysfunctional, outdated Westminster system - which offers people like Jacob Rees-Mogg prominent and powerful positions - our net-zero targets will always be at risk.

"That is why Scotland needs the full powers of independence in order to build a stronger, fairer, and greener society."

The National:

Teesside Wind Farm near the mouth of the River Tees off the North Yorkshire coast

Alba's depute leader Kenny MacAskill said while he believes oil and gas supplies cannot simply be turned off, he thinks Rees-Mogg's claims demonstrate the need for Scotland to control its own energy.

"Scotland has had enough of Tory ministers like Rees-Mogg treating Scotland as a cash cow for the UK Treasury and an energy reserve to be exploited," he told The National. 

"Rees-Mogg should be told to get his hands off Scotland’s oil.

“It is time for Scotland to take control of her own energy into her own hands through independence. Then we can decide the rate of extraction compatible with net zero and reap the benefits of our huge energy resources which we have been denied for so long.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government made it clear that unlimited fossil fuel extraction is not compatible with the country's climate efforts.

“Recent actions by Russia only serve to highlight the importance of accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources," they told The National. "In Scotland, the equivalent of nearly 100% of our electricity demand already comes from renewable sources and we are focused on reducing reliance on fossil fuels while accelerating the deployment of renewable energy still further.”

Over the weekend, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he does not “favour a vast increase in onshore wind farms”.

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He told Sky they “can create something of an eyesore for communities as well as actual problems of noise as well” as he favoured the development of turbines offshore.

Johnson’s spokesman said onshore turbines should be built when “locally supported”, adding: “You’ll see more about our position on energy in our strategy published on Thursday.”

The Prime Minister has appeared to shift support to offshore wind as their possible expansion concerned some colleagues over their impact on communities.

He also indicated the need for new nuclear development, including smaller modular reactors.

But his long-awaited energy security strategy was repeatedly put back last month amid suggestions Chancellor Rishi Sunak was resisting new spending commitments.