The world's first industrial-scale clean energy power plant to generate "carbon-free" electricity from hydrogen could be built in Aberdeenshire.
The new plant will be built next to Peterhead power station
The £330m project will split natural gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide.
The hydrogen will fuel a new power station to be built near the existing power station at Peterhead.
The carbon dioxide (CO2) will then be liquefied and piped underground for storage in BP's Miller oil field where it can also help to recover more oil.
Oil giant BP PLC and its partners Royal Dutch/Shell, ConocoPhillips and Scottish & Southern Energy PLC are planning to build the 350 megawatt power station, which could come on stream in 2009.
BP said the project would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere by the power generation by more than 90% and would provide carbon-free electricity to the equivalent of a quarter of a million UK homes.
Initial engineering feasibility studies into the project have been completed and the partners will now begin detailed design work to make sure the project is economically viable.
The carbon dioxide would be exported through existing pipelines to the Miller oilfield which is due to cease production in 2006/7.
The injection of carbon dioxide could increase oil recovery by up to 40 million barrels and extend the field's life by 15-20 years, BP said.
Norway's Statoil company has buried carbon dioxide under the North Sea since 1996.
The UK Government recently announced £25m of funding to develop carbon sequestration.
The Scottish National Party welcomed the announcement.
Party leader Alex Salmond, whose constituency includes Peterhead, said: "Carbon capture can contribute significantly to reduction in greenhouse gases. It is a life saving and potentially planet saving technology.
"Estimates suggest that 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 can be stored under the Scottish and Norwegian sectors of the North Sea.
"With total Scottish CO2 output of 50 million tonnes, carbon capture can play a big part in helping us meet the Kyoto targets and help in the battle to halt climate change."
Mr Salmond said that Scotland had the best locations in the world for carbon capture and storage with a developed pipeline network and oil reservoirs coming close to the end of natural production.
He urged the UK Government to put full support behind the scheme.
Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen said: "This is an exciting development for Scotland and shows that we can lead the world in new technologies," he said.
"It also demonstrates that business partnerships can deliver solutions that not only bring significant carbon savings but global business opportunities."