Shell and TravelCenters of America announced that starting in 2013, they plan to sell liquefied natural gas to on-highway customers through the existing network of full-service TA and Petro fueling centers. (LNG is viewed as a more suitable alternative fuel for long-haul operations because it has more range than compressed natural gas, or CNG.)
The proposed plans include constructing more than 200 LNG fuel lanes at about 100 TA and Petro locations throughout the country.
The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding and still have a lot of final planning to do, but the deal would see more than 200 LNG fuel lanes built at about 100 TA sites and Petro Stopping Centers throughout the country. If a final agreement is reached, the first of the LNG fuel lanes are expected to become operational in 2013.
TA also plans to train and equip many of of TA's 3,000 repair technicians, 1,000 truck service bays and 400 Road Squad emergency roadside repair vehicles to service natural-gas-powered truck engines.
"Shell sees great potential for LNG as a fuel option among our range of quality fuels, due to the sheer abundance and affordability of domestic natural gas in North America," says Elen Phillips, vice president, Shell Fuels Sales & Marketing North America. "Where it makes sense and where there is customer demand, we will innovate to deliver LNG as an additional fuel to offer to our customers across America."
Last year, Shell announced it would sell LNG
to its heavy-duty fleet customers at select Flying J truckstops in Alberta, Canada, beginning in 2012. The first LNG retail plaza in Calgary is expected to open this year.
Shell and TA aren't the only companies planning an LNG Network. Clean Energy Fuels Corp. plans to have 70 LNG fueling stations out of a planned 150 along what it's calling "America's Natural Gas Highway." Related Stories:5/30/2012 Taxing Natural Gas Trucks Will Pose a Challenge6/5/2012 Natural Gas Pump Prices Won't Rise Much, Clean Energy Exec Says1/16/2012 Clean Energy Unveils Backbone Network for Natural Gas Highway