TC Energy Corp. on Thursday became the seventh oil and gas provider to sign a hydrogen supply development agreement with aspiring electric transport truck manufacturer Nikola Corp.

The deal calls for cooperative planning, construction, operation and ownership of hydrogen production hubs for Nikola’s proposed fuel cell electric vehicles (EV) across the United States and Canada.

“We see this new partnership as an important first step in facilitating access to affordable low-carbon production of hydrogen for the transportation and industrial sector,” said TC Vice President Corey Hessen. 

The Calgary-based pipeline conglomerate joined a group of other oil and gas producers to advance projects to reduce emissions because of rising Canadian carbon taxes. TC and Pembina also have a cleanup partnership called the Alberta Carbon Grid  that maps out an open-access network for carbon capture.

Nikola previously announced hydrogen network planning agreements with Opal Fuels LLC, TravelCenters of America Inc., Wabash Valley Resources LLC. In addition, it has some European suppliers. 

TC’s North American natural gas and oil delivery network as “pipeline distribution capabilities that will be essential for cost-efficient movement of hydrogen in the future,” said Nikola’s Pablo Koziner, who is president of Energy and Commercial.

The high-profile venture into new-age EVs is working toward manufacturing its first trucks in a German factory at Ulm. Production could begin late this year.

The Phoenix-based electric truck firm initially inspired investors with visions of large-scale, carbon emissions-free transport. 

Meanwhile, Nikola founder Trevor Milton, who resigned as chair in September 2020, is facing charges of securities and wire fraud. Last July in New York City, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan charged Milton with three counts of criminal fraud for lying about “nearly all aspects of the business” to increase stock sales of the start-up, according to the indictment. 

He is facing two counts of securities fraud, including making false statements about the company, and one count for wire fraud. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also filed civil securities fraud charges against Milton in July.