INTERNATIONAL oil and gas heavyweights have pledged more than £1million support in total for a training academy run from Edinburgh.

This is expected to help fill skills gaps that pose big challenges for firms operating in areas like the North Sea.

The funding provided by BP, Shell, BG, ConocoPhillips, E.ON and Total will help the new Heriot-Watt University-led Centre for Doctoral Training in Oil and Gas provide places for 90 PhD students over the next six years.

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Heriot Watt university said the centre will focus on creating a highly skilled workforce with expertise that can be used across the wider energy and environmental sectors as well as in the oil and gas industry.

The programme will be run with industry and partners including the universities of Aberdeen and Dundee. Partners will provide £5.2m while £2.7m will come from the state.