(BBC)The prime minister has announced millions of pounds of funding for a carbon capture project ahead of a visit to the north east of Scotland.
Rishi Sunak emphasised the role the region will play in the UK’s wider energy security plans as he confirmed 100 new North Sea oil and gas licences.
The UK government said Scottish schemes would help it grow the economy and meet its 2050 net zero commitment.
But opponents say the Conservatives are “doubling down” on fossil fuels.
It comes as the party faces internal divisions over its green policies – such as the review over low-traffic neighbourhoods in England – with some MPs calling for a rethink.
Mr Sunak confirmed funding for the Acorn Project in St Fergus, Aberdeenshire, on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme.
And he said the announcement meant the UK now had four clusters across that would help it transition to net zero in a new industry and strengthen energy security.
Mr Sunak told the programme it would support thousands of jobs across the UK and defended the new oil and gas licences as “the right thing to do”.
He added: “Even when we reach net zero in 2050, a quarter of our energy needs will still come from oil and gas and domestic gas production has about a quarter or a third of the carbon footprint of imported gas.”
The prime minister also said it made “absolutely no sense” to import energy supplies with “two to three times the carbon footprint of what we have got at home”.