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NGVs Make Small Gains in Texas, Pennsylvania

Texas and Pennsylvania stakeholders are revving up their natural gas vehicle (NGV) engines but policies and infrastructure continue to be out of sight.

In Texas privately held Green Energy Oilfield Services LLC has turned to liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power a trucking fleet that hauls liquid wastes from oil and natural gas drilling operations in the Freestone Trend in central-northeast Texas.

The Fairfield, TX-based company has partnered with other Texas firms to build a 14,000-square-foot facility from which the LNG operations will be managed, according to COO Roger Nevill, who told NGI that his company plans to duplicate the LNG fleet in other basins in the future.

Green Energy was founded last year with financial backing by Dallas-based private equity firm Lone Star Investment Advisors. Development of the Fairfield LNG station is to begin in August, with completion scheduled by the end of this year. Plans include the development of additional LNG truck fueling stations in Fort Worth, Marshall and Laredo.

A first-call agreement with XTO Energy Inc. is to manage more than 3,500 gas wells across 290,000 acres in the Freestone Trend area, Green Energy noted. The Freestone generates more than 50,000 b/d of salt water, it noted.

The company is working with Irving, TX-based Rush Peterbilt Truck Centers and Denton, TX-based Peterbilt to develop the vehicle fleet. Dragon Products developed the special vacuum trailers, 400 frack tanks, acid tanks, mud tanks and mud pumps used in its capture and transportation management programs. And Westport, which provides natural gas engines, "retrofitted Green Energy's vehicle engines to ensure the highest quality and safety in vacuuming, transporting and disposing of the gas waste water," said Nevill.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania regulators and industry stakeholders are pushing ahead with plans to increase the use of natural gas for transportation across the state, but it will take some time before any visible signs of progress emerge, a Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) spokesman told NGI last week.

The "Pennsylvania Clean Transportation Corridor" was launched by the MSC last year to link the state's five main population centers with a string of NGV fueling stations is still in the pre-construction planning phase.

"Rome wasn't built overnight, nor will large-scale CNG [compressed natural gas] infrastructure," said MSC spokesman Travis Windle. "There is a great deal of positive progress on this front aimed at further leveraging the Marcellus Shale's abundant, clean-burning resources to power the region's transportation needs. We continue to move forward."

The Pennsylvania NGV "roadmap" makes the case that if just half of the heavy duty diesel-powered fleet vehicles were switched to NGVs, there would be significant benefits in reduced nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and hydrocarbons for neighborhoods across the state. The coalition contends that in five years there could be $123 million of new investment and fleet operators could cut their annual fuel costs collectively by $9.2 million.

"It also has a direct impact of creating nearly 1,300 new jobs," Windle said. "The proximity of Marcellus Shale provides the commonwealth with a unique opportunity to expand its clean energy transportation infrastructure."

It is still unclear when Pennsylvania's CNG and LNG fueling stations might be built and put in service. For now they exist as clusters of colored dots on a map of the state -- existing and planned, CNG and LNG -- tying together the population centers of Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and State College.

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