Seal Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. has announced a $20 million partnership with compressed natural gas (CNG) firm Mansfield Energy Corp. And the company reported 1Q2013 results that were still showing red ink, but much less of a loss than reported for the same period last year.

During a conference call, CEO Andrew Littlefair emphasized key advancements in the first quarter for the natural gas transportation space, such as “significant progress” recently in long-haul trucking’s transition to natural gas, particularly with liquefied natural gas (LNG), and the new 12-liter natural gas engines that are being delivered to truck manufacturers.

Littlefair said shippers are requesting that their contract carriers make the switch to natural gas, and some of the biggest companies in America, such as UPS, are announcing large orders of new natural gas trucks.

“With the initial stations of our ‘America’s Natural Gas Highway’ in place, we are now ready to start realizing the benefits of this investment,” he said. Clean Energy reported a net loss for the first quarter of 2013 of $3.9 million, or 4 cents/share, compared to a net loss of $31.9 million, or 37 cents/share, for 1Q2012.

Clean Energy and Mansfield announced a partnership to offer customers “a comprehensive solution” in the CNG fuel industry.

Sales teams from both companies will offer Clean Energy’s natural gas fueling station construction and operational services to current and potential customers, a Clean Energy spokesperson said. “These services will be supported by Mansfield’s large-scale fuel supply capabilities, and Gas-2-Gallons fuel management system creating a superior solution for the growing number of fleets making the switch to cleaner, cheaper natural gas,” he said.

The deal covers 43 Mansfield service and operations contracts for CNG and 20 new CNG stations under development. They now join 348 CNG and LNG outlets operated by Clean Energy.

“This agreement joins two leaders of fleet fueling into strategic partners that will provide the highest level of service and best value for customers in the rapidly-growing natural gas fuel market,” Littlefair said.

“No other company offers fuel customers the benefit of scale and expertise that Mansfield provides. Clean Energy has built and operated more CNG stations and fueled more natural gas vehicles than any company in the U.S. Together, we will be the best solution in the marketplace.”

“We want our customers to have the best solution possible for fueling with natural gas,” said Michael Mansfield, CEO of Mansfield, an oil jobber that has expanded into CNG. “We bring scale in commodity supply, risk management, and transaction processing. Clean Energy has scale in design, engineering and operations. Bringing these strengths together for our customers provides the benefits of proven technology coupled with large scale operating efficiencies to provide the best value and simplest path to natural gas adoption in the market today.”

Mansfield Gas Equipment Systems has CNG service and operations contracts with 43 locations as well as 20 new CNG sites currently under development in the waste, transit, and municipal fleet sectors. “The partnering further solidifies Clean Energy’s position as the largest provider of natural gas infrastructure for transportation in North America,” said the spokesperson, noting that Clean Energy’s total strategic partnerships to date represent the equivalent of more than 11 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel delivered annually. The company also will become the Western distributor of Mansfield Gas Equipment Systems’ FuelMaker, a small scale business and home re-fueling system.

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