United States Steel and subsidiaries of Equinor and Shell have entered into a non-exclusive co-operation agreement to collaborate on a proposed clean energy hub to be built in either Ohio, West Virginia or Pennsylvania.

In February, EQT, Equinor, GE Gas Power, Marathon Petroleum, Mitsubishi Power, Shell Polymers and US Steel set out a framework to co-operate with stakeholders to develop a low-carbon and hydrogen industrial hub in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The more recent agreement, announced on Tuesday, is a more concrete statement of co-operation.

While the location of the clean energy hub has yet to be determined, the three companies said it will focus on “decarbonisation opportunities” featuring carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) as well as hydrogen production and utilisation.

“The development of this hub, and its associated infrastructure, would generate new, sustainable jobs, stimulate economic growth and help achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions,” the group said.

A time frame for the project has not been established.

Equinor, Shell and US Steel said the combination of significant supplies of natural gas, a strong industrial sector and a skilled workforce makes the tri-state region “the optimal location” for the hub.

As part of their efforts to develop the CCUS and hydrogen hub, Equinor and Shell intend to jointly apply for funding from the US Department of Energy. US Steel’s exact role in the partnership remains uncertain.

“US Steel is evaluating the role it may play in the hub, including as a potential funding participant, customer, supplier or partner,” the three companies said in their joint statement.

Equinor Low Carbon Solutions senior vice president Grete Tveit said the company had an established presence in the region and was excited to partner on the proposed project.

“Establishing a low-carbon hub in this region could have a profound impact on both the climate and the economy, creating sustainable jobs that will support families for many years to come,” she said.

Shell general manager of US carbon capture Lee Stockwell said the three companies can complement one another’s strengths.

“Together, we’ll continue to leverage our deep technical experience, existing networks and seek to build out the partnership with our customers and other partners,” he said.

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