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.”