Natural gas fleet expansion, natural gas corridors, natural gas infrastructure – the US is on the move.
Across the United States, natural gas vehicle momentum is growing as 2011 looks likely to be the year the door opened wide to this plentiful, environmentally friendly fuel. Following is a small selection of news headlines over the past two weeks.
- US natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy Corporation has completed the first phase of its goal of converting its entire corporate fleet of 4,200 vehicles to clean, compressed natural gas (CNG) by 2014. Phase One, involving conversion of the Chesapeake fleet in Oklahoma, was completed last week when the company’s 800th natural gas vehicle entered service. The natural gas-powered truck fleet will be used by field operations teams overseeing the company’s drilling programs in the Anadarko Basin in western Oklahoma.Phase Two of Chesapeake’s conversion will include the conversion of its fleets in North Texas and Louisiana to CNG. The company plans to replicate its successful model in Oklahoma by partnering with local fuel retailers in these areas to build public CNG fueling stations. Phases Three and Four of the initiative call for converting the company’s fleets in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Colorado, Wyoming and South Texas.
- Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc., an alternative fuel and renewable energy solutions provider, has secured a new purchase contract for 250 ultra-light weight compressed natural gas (CNG) tanks from a large US natural gas vehicle integrator of light duty trucks.
- Two compressed natural gas stations are set to open in western Colorado, one in Grand Junction and the other in Rifle, marking the completion of an alternative fuel corridor to the West Coast, from Denver and Los Angeles in CNG-fueled vehicles and stimulating interest from major oil and gas companies in Colorado – Williams, Encan and Bill Barrett Corp. “It was not practical for us to make a wholesale conversion until these stations opened today,” says Susan Alvillar, community affairs representative for Williams Production.
- Texas lawmakers have proposed a bill to encourage the build-out of compressed natural gas stations along the “Texas Triangle” linking Houston, San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth. It would be funded through the existing Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, which draws from fees tacked on some vehicle titles, commercial vehicle inspections and other sources. Chairman James T. Hackett of America’s Natural Gas Alliance said, “the framework will help to create additional jobs, boost the economy and sharply reduce air pollutants in the Texas Triangle. It also can serve as a model for other states as Americans look for ways to use domestically produced, clean and affordable fuel solutions.”
- Communications giant AT&T Inc. recently declared that the use of compressed natural gas vehicles in its corporate vehicle fleet helped the company avoid the purchase of more than one million gallons of traditional petroleum fuel in 2010.
- Apache Corporation, energy exploration and production company, will build a compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling station at Houston’ Bush Intercontinental Airport, for the ecopark fleet of buses that carry passengers to and from the city’s economy parking lots. The station is expected to be ready for service in 60-90 days.“This year we’re going to double the size of our CNG-powered vehicle fleet and double the number of CNG stations we operate. To encourage further CNG use, we’re also implementing an incentive program to encourage our employees to acquire CNG vehicles,” said G. Steven Farris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Apache.