The CEO of energy giant BP has told The Northern Echo the company will be working with schools and universities to make sure the right skills are in place for a game-changing green revolution on Teesside.

Two major projects spearheaded by BP are being established in the area, the carbon capture, utilisation and storage plant Net Zero Teesside Power, and H2 Teesside, the energy firm’s plan to create a hydrogen production facility.

Talking to The Northern Echo just a few hundred yards from the former SSI blast furnace on the vast Teesworks site CEO Bernard Looney said there was an enormous sense of opportunity for the region.

“When you look for a place to invest, one of the first things you need is for a community and the local government to be behind your plans. There is leadership and vision here and a confluence of events in a country that is BP’s home and where we feel a responsibilIty to help. All of the conditions are here - the people, the industries and the emissions - that can help us create something very different.”

One of the key goals of the whole Teesside revolution is the long-term pipeline of skills and jobs to fit the industries that seem to be queueing up to come here. For Mr Looney this was a theme close to his heart, as a man “made by education” who grew up in County Kerry and was the first in his family to go to university.

He said: “Everyone I speak to loves living here, but they worry about jobs for themselves and for their kids, so what if we could make the jobs that are here more sustainable by dealing with emissions and then create a new industry with new jobs.

“I grew up on a small farm and would still be there now if it were not for education, so we will be doing everything we can - working with universities and schools - to make sure the people here are developing the right skills.

“I think if someone wants to stay in this beautiful part of the world, then our job is to make sure they have the conditions and the employment opportunities that allow that.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen - whose performance and vision has been a key factor in the region’s resurgence - told The Northern Echo: “I want Teesside to become synonymous with Net Zero in the same way as Silicon Valley is with IT and social media., and if you have the right investment now that means that if you want a job fighting climate change, you are going to think ‘I need to move to Teesside’.

“The reason why we are so far ahead of many places in the world is something we have had for decades - the infrastructure from the former ICI operation with all its utilities and pipework.

“So what we are achieving today is on the backs of generations of Teessiders who have allowed us to get to the place where the future is going to be clean, green and profitable.”

Redcar MP Jacob Young added: “Today we have BP and recently we had GE, both talking about new investments that will create many more jobs than were lost.

“The site has also had well over £200million from the Government over the last few years because they are using Teesside as the perfect example of how to level up the country.”