United States Steel Corp., Equinor U.S. Holdings Inc. and Shell U.S. Gas & Power LLC will collaborate to develop a clean energy hub focused on decarbonization, carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and hydrogen production and utilization.

According to a press release announcing the partnership on Aug. 16, the companies entered a non-exclusive cooperation agreement. Shell and Equinor are jointly applying for funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to support the regional hub development while U.S. Steel evaluates its potential role, which could include funding participant, customer, supplier or partner.

Through the development of the network of hubs, both the United States and the project partners would be a step closer to realizing their 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target.

“We’re proud of the collaboration with Equinor and U. S. Steel,” Lee Stockwell, general manager for U.S. carbon capture and storage for Shell and signee of the agreement, said in the release. “Together, we’ll continue to leverage our deep technical experience, existing networks, and seek to buildout the partnership with our customers and other partners.”

The hubs will span the Ohio-West Virginia-Pennsylvania region, an area with an abundance of low carbon gas, a robust industrial sector and a skilled workforce, making it a strategic location.

To develop the hubs, the collaborating companies will engage the local industry, labor, educational institutions and communities, which will generate sustainable jobs, in turn stimulating regional economic growth.

“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,” Grete Tveit, senior vice president of Equinor Low Carbon Solutions, added.

“For 14 years we have been engaged and investing in this region, and our significant equity gas production in the Appalachia region has proved to be an important low carbon asset in our portfolio. In collaboration with partners and the local community, we’re proud to advance this initiative and America’s net-zero future.”