MOU Signed to Build Scotland Low Carbon Workforce

Oil & Gas

OPITO 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 global safety and skills body for the energy industry said it 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, OPITO noted.

“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 decarbonization of UK industry,” Andy Williamson, the head of energy transition at OPITO, said in an organization statement. 

“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,” Williamson added in the statement.

“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,” Williamson went on to say.

On behalf of the Scottish Cluster, Nick Cooper, the chief executive officer 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,” he added.

“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,” Cooper continued.

Last month, the UK minister of state for energy, clean growth and climate change – Greg Hands – revealed that the first phase of the evaluation of five cluster submissions had been completed. The Hynet and East Coast Clusters were confirmed as track 1 clusters for the mid-2020s and the Scottish Cluster was confirmed as a reserve cluster if a back-up is needed.

Responding to the UK Government’s announcement in October, OGUK underlined that the UK will need all of the proposed cluster projects – and more – if it is to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“This is a landmark moment for the UK in showing the world how they can achieve net zero emissions and the selection of Hynet and the East Coast Cluster is positive progress,” OGUK Sustainability Director Mike Tholen said in an organization statement at the time.

“However, we are going to need all of these carbon capture and hydrogen projects and more if the country is to become carbon neutral by 2050,” he added in the statement.

OPITO highlighted that the Acorn Project provides the backbone infrastructure for the Scottish Cluster. Acorn is an ambitious program designed to tackle climate change by dealing with industrial CO2 emissions and other ‘hard to decarbonize’ sectors, the project’s website states. The program includes Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage and Acorn Hydrogen.

To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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