A GLOBAL energy sector safety and skills body has signalled its confidence in the Acorn Project, the carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiative in Scotland that was bypassed by Boris Johnson’s government.

Opito has agreed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Acorn – a partner in the Scottish Cluster campaign – to develop a blueprint for industrial skilling and reskilling training.

The UK Government relegated Acorn to “reserve” status as a site for CCS, opting instead for Humberside and Teesside.

Storegga Geotechnologies is developing the Acorn Project in partnership with Shell UK and Harbour Energy, to provide the Scottish Cluster’s infrastructure.

READ MORE: Douglas Ross denies UK's snub of Scots carbon capture project was political

Acorn CC and Acorn Hydrogen plan to use existing offshore gas pipelines which land at the St Fergus gas terminal, to give access to CO2 stores in rock formations deep under the North Sea.

Opito will provide standards and skills competency training support to the Scottish Cluster before work gets under way, it hopes, by 2023.

The plans they implement will also 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.”

​READ MORE: Sir Ian Wood slams UK decision to snub Scots carbon capture scheme

Storegga CEO, Nick Cooper, added: “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.”