Partnership formed to build Scotland’s low carbon workforce

OPITO, the global safety and skills body for the energy industry, has announced the agreement of a memorandum of understanding (“MoU”) with the Acorn Project and Scottish Cluster, to develop a blueprint of industrial skilling and reskilling training for the low carbon economy.

The Acorn Project, developed by Storegga in partnership with Shell UK and Harbour Energy provides the backbone infrastructure for the Scottish Cluster. Its ambitious programme includes Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage (“CCS”) and Acorn Hydrogen and will use existing offshore gas pipelines which land at the St Fergus gas terminal to quickly and cost effectively provide access to world-class CO2 stores located in rock formations deep under the North Sea, establishing a CO2 transport and storage hub to support the key emitter projects within the Scottish Cluster.

The UK Government, through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (“BEIS”) recently announced the outcome of its CCUS Cluster Sequencing Process to decide which of the UK’s industrial CCS clusters would be on the earliest track for project delivery in the UK. The Scottish Cluster was awarded reserve cluster status and continues to work with government towards delivery of the project.

Building on its 50-year legacy in energy skills development, OPITO will provide standards and skills competency training support to the Scottish Cluster in advance of work getting underway hopefully by 2023. 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.”

On behalf of the Scottish Cluster, Nick Cooper, CEO of Storegga, 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.”

About OPITO:

OPITO is the global skills organisation for the energy industry. Up to 375,000 people are trained to OPITO standards every year, across 50 countries through 230 accredited training centres. OPITO works to develop a safe and skilled workforce by driving global standards and qualifications, creating workforce development solutions and leading dialogue with industries and governments. With operation centres in four regions-UK and Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas-OPITO is driving safety and competency improvements to benefit the industry and providing career pathways and training opportunities for the current workforce and the next generation.

For more information on the Scottish Cluster contact:

Monique Perks / Tom Huddart / Billy Clegg / Emily Hall / Lily Pettifar or 020 3757 4980

Scottish Cluster

The Scottish Cluster unites communities, industries, and businesses to deliver CCS, hydrogen and other low carbon technologies, supporting Scotland, the UK and Europe to meet net zero goals. The Scottish Cluster is central to rapidly establishing a world leading CCS industry in the UK and meeting both the UK and Scottish Government’s net zero commitments.

Importantly, the Cluster can unlock access to one of the UK’s most important and well understood CO2 storage resources of over 600Mt through a transport and storage network comprised of multiple pipelines and stores which provides unrivalled resilience.

The Cluster has MOUs with a diverse range of CO2 customers spanning, industrial and power CCS, hydrogen generation and Direct Air Capture.

The Cluster delivers strategic investment in Scotland, as well as more widely around the UK, bringing economic benefits across the country. It will create low carbon jobs while sustaining vital industries where it is hard to reduce emissions. 

Acorn Project

The Acorn CCS and Hydrogen Project provides critical backbone infrastructure to the Scottish Cluster. Storegga, Shell, and Harbour Energy are equal partners in the Acorn Project. Acorn is one of the most mature UK CCS and hydrogen projects and is positioned to be the most cost-effective and scalable CCS project in the UK. The project is currently in the detailed engineering and design phase of development and can be operational by the mid-2020’s, providing a clear pathway for the UK to meet its net zero targets. Acorn is specifically designed to service multiple emitters around Scotland, the UK and Europe. As such, it can rapidly scale up to meet expected demand, with the ability to remove at least 20mtpa of CO₂ emissions within the first decade of operations. 

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