The Acorn carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Aberdeenshire has teamed up with skills body OPITO to help deliver thousands of skilled jobs for the Scottish Cluster.
Earlier this year it was estimated that 20,000 skilled roles would be created over the next decade through the Scottish Cluster CCS project at its peak, and the new memorandum of understanding will help deliver that through training and re-skilling.
Acorn CCS at St Fergus, which leads the cluster, will store industrial emissions from heavy emitters around Scotland, such as Ineos’ Grangemouth refinery, in depleted gas fields in the North Sea via the St Fergus terminal in Aberdeenshire.
The team-up with OPITO will provide standards and skills competency training support to the Scottish Cluster in advance of work getting underway “hopefully by 2023”.
The Scottish Cluster was snubbed last month when it was not selected to be one of the first two UK CCS clusters, to be up and running by the mid-2020s, instead being selected as a “reserve”.
It is hoped that the Scottish project will be selected for the latter two schemes, to be up and running by 2030, in a later announcement.
OPITO said the workforce skills training and development plans implemented on the Scottish Cluster will be applicable across other UK-based CCS clusters.
Andy Williamson, Head of Energy Transition at OPITO, said: “Despite the UK Government’s decision to name the Scottish Cluster as a reserve, we share the Acorn partner’s view that the Project remains crucial to the development of CCS to support decarbonisation of UK industry.
“A unique combination of existing infrastructure, offshore geology, and a skilled and competent workforce who are ready to transfer their skills means the Acorn Project will play a key role in meeting Scotland, and the UK’s journey to net zero.
“OPITO, with its strong commitment to the energy transition and established partnerships, is ideally placed to support Acorn, and other Cluster projects, to meet our shared net zero ambition.”
Nick Cooper, CEO of Storegga, the firm behind Acorn, said: “Our conservative estimate is that over 20,000 skilled jobs will be created through the peak of the Scottish Cluster development.
“We are determined that training and reskilling opportunities are in place to prepare our workforce to meet the infrastructure and innovation needs of the Scottish Cluster projects.
“Our workforce in Scotland will be equipped with the skills to deliver projects for our net zero future in Scotland, the UK, and then export this knowledge internationally in the same way that the North Sea did in previous decades.”