Apache Energy, an independent energy company based in Houston, Texas has opened its first compressed natural gas fueling station in Elk City, Oklahoma, the location of a company district office. The station, with capacity to refuel 100 vehicles per day, was patronised by Oklahoma House Speaker Chris Benge who stopped by to fill up his Chevrolet Impala. Initially the facility will be used to fuel more than 40 Apache field vehicles that are being equipped to run on CNG.
Chief Executive Officer G. Steven Farris said Apache built its first refueling station in Oklahoma because the state’s incentives improved the economic return for the project. Apache, which is fueling its CNG field vehicles with gas produced from the company’s wells in western Oklahoma, is planning to build two additional CNG refueling stations in the state, according to a company press release.
Apache also is exploring ways to coordinate its CNG refueling program with state agencies, local governments and other CNG fleet operators, Farris said. “The biggest obstacle to expanding the use of CNG right now is the lack of refueling infrastructure; that’s why we built our own station. The private sector could build adequate infrastructure to fuel many of the nation’s public and private vehicle fleets, but policy makers in Washington and other states need to follow Oklahoma’s lead and consider appropriate incentives to accelerate development. We appreciate Speaker Benge’s leadership in expanding and extending the incentives.”
Benge is proud of the State’s legislative initiatives: “When we put tax incentives in place earlier this year to encourage natural gas usage as a transportation fuel in our state, this type of project is exactly what we had in mind,” he said. “Apache has made a private financial commitment to CNG by building this station and in the process is helping reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil. I am hopeful that the legislation we put in place will continue to help build CNG infrastructure and encourage the use of local energy resources, which will be a benefit to our state’s economy as a whole. Oklahoma is poised to lead the way nationally in alternative-fuel vehicles, and this legislation is only the beginning. We must secure our energy future in order to secure our economic future.”