BUSINESS leaders have urged the UK Government to support plans for the development of a Scottish Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Cluster which they reckon can help tackle climate change while providing a big boost to the economy.

In a letter to Boris Johnson they say that the country’s North Sea oil and gas heritage makes Scotland a standout location to be amongst the first CCS clusters to be developed in the UK.

The letter highlights the potential to use North Sea fields to store emissions associated with hard-to-decarbonise industries and to help unlock the potential of clean energy sources such as hydrogen.

“Scotland is the most cost-effective place to begin CCS in the UK given the capacity for CO2 storage in the North Sea and the existing oil and gas infrastructure available to repurpose for CO2 transport and storage,” it states.

“There is also a huge opportunity for UK and Scottish oil and gas firms, domestic supply chain companies and our wider economy to harness the skills and expertise of our current workforces to create many sustainable jobs ... and contribute significantly to the net zero ambition.”

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The letter is signed by senior representatives of the Aberdeen-based Energy Transition Zone (ETZ), Opportunity North East, CBI Scotland, IoD Scotland, the Net Zero Technology Centre, Scottish Chambers of Commerce and Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce.

The signatories include oil services tycoon Sir Ian Wood, who chairs ETZ. “Scotland is, quite simply, the standout location for the cluster.,” he said, adding: ““It is hugely encouraging to have Scotland’s business community uniting behind the bid and we urge the UK Government to approve it as a priority.”

In November the UK Government committed to deploy Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage in two industrial clusters by the mid-2020s, and a further two by 2030.

The Scottish cluster faces competition from schemes covering North East and North West England and South Wales.

The Government has said it will announce the result of the first phase application process from October 25.

International investors have shown faith in the potential for the Scottish Carbon Cluster.

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The plan under consideration centres on the Acorn CCS scheme, which is expected to involve storing emissions from across central Scotland in the Goldeneye reservoir.

Work on the plan is being led by Storrega. The company has won backing from Australian investment bank Macquarie, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and Japanese industrial giant Mitsui.

In April Royal Dutch Shell and private equity-backed Harbour Energy became equal partners in the Acorn project with Storrega.