Allison Sandlin, U.S. onshore non-operated asset manager at Equinor, sees the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia as a future clean energy hub in the U.S. In August, Equinor recently signed agreements with Shell and U.S. Steel to form a partnership focusing on decarbonization opportunities including carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) as well as hydrogen production and utilization.

Sandlin spoke about the potential for the natural gas produced from the Appalachia region as a pathway toward net zero in an exclusive interview with Nissa Darbonne, Hart Energy executive editor-at-large. Sandlin's complete 25 Influential Women in Energy profile will be available on Feb. 3.

Nissa Darbonne: Tell us more about Equinor's assets in the U.S.

Allison Sandlin: Thank you so much for having me. Equinor’s been in the U.S. now for 35 years and Equinor believes the U.S. is an energy innovation hub that's really going to help accelerate us towards the energy transition. Our upstream assets are focused in two areas mainly. So in the Gulf of Mexico where we produce about 115,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. And in the Appalachia where I sit, I'm the non-op asset manager for the Appalachia where we produce a Bcf/d of production out of that region.

ND: What do you foresee for the next 10 years of the energy industry?

AS: As our pathway towards net zero, we really believe that the tri-state region of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio has the potential to be a clean energy hub or get down to net zero or kind of net neutral in the next 10 years. There's a few reasons for that. The first is the Appalachia region is poised to kind of contribute here. It's producing, it's currently the largest producing basin in the United States, producing 35 Bcf/d with some of the lowest carbon intensity already. Secondly, the industrial sector here currently emits about 110 million tons of carbon annually. So there's a lot of opportunity to kind of clean up that sector along the way.

And what will help enable us to get there is partnerships. In June, we announced a partnership with US Steel and in August we announced a partnership with both U.S. Steel and Shell to study a clean hydrogen hub in this region. And what will help set that up for success really is taking advantage of the recent policy changes that have taken place with the Inflation Reduction Act and collectively working together to solve through and think through how to accelerate this energy transition.