Shell-TravelCenters of America finalize natural gas distribution agreement

By Jack Roberts on

Shell and TravelCenters of America (TA) have finalized an agreement to develop a U.S. nationwide network of liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling centers for heavy-duty road transport customers.

The plan is to construct at least two LNG fueling lanes and a storage facility at up to 100 existing TA and Petro Stopping Centers branded full service travel centers along the U.S. interstate highway system.

Construction and opening of the LNG stations will be done in a phased approach with at least two natural gas fueling lanes and associated storage capability established at each facility.

Pending customary approvals, the company estimates the first of these stations will be operational in roughly one year’s time with a priority to develop the main trucking corridors to provide the potential for what Shell says will be the first-ever coast-to-coast LNG-fueled commercial transport network.

“Shell is investing now in the infrastructure that will bring this innovative, cost-competitive and environmentally beneficial fuel to our customers”, said Elen Phillips, Vice President, Shell Fuels Sales & Marketing Americas.

“We are leveraging our strength as an integrated company to produce, liquefy, distribute and commercialize natural gas in transport – and TravelCenters of America is the ideal partner to help us bring this vision to life.”

Demand for innovative fuels, like LNG, from commercial customers is growing due to the wide range of benefits for trucking fleet operators. These benefits can include lower fuel costs, the potential to reduce emissions as well as reduce noise levels in certain engines.

“We see 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“, concluded Phillips.

Shell has been working to develop the LNG for Transport market globally. Last year, it announced its intention to collaborate with TA. The company says today’s finalization of that agreement is a major step toward making LNG fuels a reality for the U.S. heavy duty road customers. Shell is also developing LNG stations at Flying J truck stops in Alberta, Canada – the first of which opened this year.

In March, Shell announced it will invest in two small-scale LNG production units that form the basis of two new LNG transport corridors in the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions that will provide LNG to marine and heavy duty road customers. This brings the total to three planned Shell LNG production units dedicated to transport in North America.

Globally, Shell cites its recent acquisition of Gasnor, the Norwegian LNG fuel company and the launch of the world’s first 100 percent LNG powered barge on the Rhine as further examples of the company’s confidence in LNG as a fuel option for commercial customers.

Jack Roberts

Jack Roberts is executive editor for CCJ and equipment editor for its sister magazine Overdrive. Roberts joined Randall-Reilly in 1995 as associate editor of Equipment World magazine and began covering both heavy-duty and light trucks in 1996. In 2006 he was the founding editor of Total Landscape Care before joining CCJ's staff in 2008.

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