Up to a quarter of Europe’s carbon dioxide emissions could be stored under the North Sea if the opportunities there are effectively exploited, according to a new report.

The study by Scottish Enterprise, produced with input from industry partners, highlights the possible impact that carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology could have.

The central North Sea boasts “geologically near-perfect” sites where the emissions could be stored, it says. By 2050 as much as 500 metric tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of 25% of the EU’s power and industrial emissions in 2007 – could be stored there.

Peterhead could become a key location for the shipment of captured CO2 from other parts of the UK and Europe, before the pollution is taken to storage sites in the sea. Establishing such an import facility in the town could create around 500 jobs and boost the local economy by £140 million, according to the report.

Scottish Enterprise said in its report: “A decision by the UK Government to provide capital support to projects in the central North Sea will represent the first step in the faster route to a commercially viable, cost competitive CCS industry in the UK and a futureproof storage asset for Europe.”