THE carbon capture and storage cluster that a pioneer backed by international investors hopes to develop in Scotland could support around 20,000 jobs in the country a study has found.

The report underlines the potential of the plans that are being developed by Storrega Geotechnologies to provide a big boost to the Scottish economy in coming years.

The plans for the cluster centre on the Acorn CCS facility planned by Storrega for north east Scotland.

Acorn will involve capturing carbon dioxide emissions so that they can be stored in depleted reservoirs under the North Sea.

Storrega expects to use the CCS facilities to support the production of hydrogen fuel from North Sea gas and to handle emissions arising from industrial activity across Scotland and overseas.

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A report by the Element Energy consultancy commissioned by Storrega found the cluster could support an average of 15,100 jobs between 2022-2050. These include 6,200 direct jobs and 8,900 in the wider supply chain.

The total number of jobs supported by the cluster is expected to peak at 20,600 in 2031.

The report also found the cluster could play a critical role in supporting the production of hydrogen and adoption of the fuel on the scale required to decarbonise Scottish industries at the pace hoped for.

Storrega director Alan James said the report showed how vital the Scottish Cluster is to meeting the UK’s net zero by 2050 pledge and how important it will be for highly skilled employment in the years and decades ahead.

He noted: “The Acorn project, which provides the critical infrastructure to the Scottish Cluster, can be rapidly scaled to meet demand, thanks to the ability to reuse infrastructure from Scotland’s oil and gas industry.”

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Emissions will be shipped via the St Fergus terminal and Peterhead port in Aberdeenshire.

Storrega also plans to develop a Direct Air Capture plant that would remove emissions from the atmosphere. It is considering locations for this in North East Scotland.

The report found the cluster could be expected to create high value jobs in areas ranging from gas and chemical services to retail. It should support jobs in sectors such as construction and engineering services.

On Tuesday Storrega announced that pensions and investments giant M&G had become an investor in the business. Other shareholders include Australian investment bank Macquarie, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Japanese industrial giant Mitsui.

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The Scottish cluster faces competition for UK Government funding from projects covering other industrial areas such as Humberside and Merseyside.