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Apache’s airport deal may help natural gas take off
Fuel Fix ^ | July 6, 2012 | Kiah Collier

Posted on 07/06/2012 8:12:33 AM PDT by thackney

Like many of its energy-producing peers, Houston’s Apache Corp. is trying to spur what it hopes will become a sweeping shift in the nation’s transportation fuel from black gold toward shale gas.

In an effort to increase demand for the natural gas it produces by making the fuel more accessible to potential consumers, Apache paid about $1.3 million for a compressed natural gas station near Bush Intercontinental Airport, which began fueling the Houston Airport System’s fleet of 30 CNG-powered parking shuttles last month.

The one-pump station on Greens Road is being operated and maintained under contract with the city by Clean Energy Fuels. The company, co-founded by Texas billionaire and natural gas champion T. Boone Pickens, builds natural gas fueling stations and advocates for the expansion of natural gas as a vehicle fuel.

The arrangement with the city resulted from a 2009 meeting between Apache CEO G. Steven Farris and Houston’s then-mayor, Bill White, who launched a host of environmental initiatives.

At the time, Apache was converting its fleet to run on clean-burning natural gas, and Farris offered to build the fueling station for the city if it began converting, too.

Late last year, the city retired its diesel-powered shuttles, purchased an all-new CNG-powered fleet and renamed its shuttle service EcoPark — a $2.7 million investment.

Airport System Director Mario Diaz said that using CNG rather than diesel will save about $360,000 a year because at current prices, natural gas costs about a third less than diesel for equivalent energy. It also will reduce emissions and shuttle maintenance costs, he said.

But what’s in it for Apache?

“Our industry became very, very good at finding natural gas,” said Robert Dye, Apache’s senior vice president of global communications. “The question is, ‘How do you deal with that supply?’?”

In the past few years, hydraulic fracturing, horizontal drilling and other technologies have unlocked once-inaccessible gas in dense shale rock, resulting in a natural gas glut and the lowest prices in a decade. Apache and other producers are trying to turn the tides of supply and demand in their favor by encouraging the infrastructure changes necessary to make more use of the fuel.

Because natural gas is plentiful and emits less greenhouse gas than coal, its use for electricity generation is growing.

But using it to fuel the growing transportation market is plagued by a classic chicken-and-egg conundrum, especially with private passengers cars and trucks: Most vehicles still run on gasoline or diesel. Consumers don’t want natural gas-powered cars if there aren’t plenty of fueling stations, and businesses don’t want to invest in fueling stations without more gas vehicles.

The United State has just over 1,000 CNG stations and only about 50 liquefied natural gas stations, and many of them are for private fleets and aren’t open for general use.

Dye of Apache acknowledged it would take a lot of infrastructure but said he is optimistic about the potential for natural gas to become the “transportation fuel of choice.”

“I think you just have to do it one station at a time, which is what we’re doing,” Dye said.

Apache is focusing primarily on converting fleets of buses or other vehicles that drive many miles a day, but start and finish in the same place so they aren’t dependent on fueling stations in multiple locations. “The most obvious people who would want to use the CNG would be the fleet managers, so I think that’s the first group that we’ll build out,” he said, noting the next target would be auto manufacturers.

Many major companies that operate large fleets, including AT&T and UPS, have converted a portion of their vehicles to run on natural gas. In May, Houston-based Waste Management announced plans to convert its 18,342-truck fleet from diesel to CNG.

“This is sort of like the beginning of, I think, a three- to four-year really big ramp-up,” said Frank Chapel Jr., Apache’s director of natural gas transportation fuels.

He cited a collaboration between Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores and Chesapeake Energy to build 10 CNG stations in Oklahoma, and Shell Oil Co.’s recent announcement of plans to supply liquefied natural gas stations at 100 interstate highway fueling stations next year.

Liquefied natural gas provides greater range but is more costly to use.

Apache has converted more than a quarter of its own domestic fleet of about 1,000 vehicles and hopes to reach 80 percent by 2015.

“I think we all really believe that conventional gasoline retailers will start to get involved in this,” Chapel said.

kiah.collier@chron.com twitter.com/kiahcollier

Cheaper and cleaner

Compressed and liquefied natural gas burn cleaner than gasoline or diesel and provide the same amount of energy at lower cost. Price for a gallon of diesel or its equivalent this week: Diesel — $3.65 Gasoline — $3.02 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) — $2.27 Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) — $2.86 Sources: Clean Energy Fuels; U.S. Energy Information Administration.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: cng; energy; naturalgas
I believe we will see private CNG fueling facilities built for fleet service adding a commercial filling lane open to the public. This has already started as some locations.
1 posted on 07/06/2012 8:12:43 AM PDT by thackney
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Compressed and liquefied natural gas burn cleaner than gasoline or diesel and provide the same amount of energy at lower cost. Price for a gallon of diesel or its equivalent this week:

Diesel — $3.65

Gasoline — $3.02

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) — $2.27

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) — $2.86

Sources: Clean Energy Fuels; U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Please note that while the statement above is true and the pricing is current, the pricing does not represent cost per energy equivalent size.

2 posted on 07/06/2012 8:18:55 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

If I could obtain CNG I would order a dual fuel conversion kit for my car today.

The dual fuel option is what is needed until a much larger infrastructure of CNG is in place at almost every gas station. However, with just one outlet here and it is 30 miles away, I cannot justify the conversion costs.

In Western NY, there is only one station which allows us peons to fill up. The others are all owned by us (State DOT) so of course we cannot use them.

Ever notice how many things which are public are not open to the public? NY commie bastards!


3 posted on 07/06/2012 8:22:34 AM PDT by Wurlitzer (Nothing says "ignorance" like Islam!)
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To: thackney

I took a hard look at the Honda Civic nat gas model (made here in Indiana).

But the scuttlebut on home compressor units is that they are unreliable (they are certainly expensive too).

But I think the economics are so favorable for the fuel we’ll see a lot of commercial usage.


4 posted on 07/06/2012 8:27:20 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: thackney

There are about fifty million households in the country already hooked up to natural gas for heating. It seems to me that an in-home CNG set-up makes a lot of sense, but I haven’t seen any indication that there is much interest. Does anyone know anything about it ?


5 posted on 07/06/2012 8:33:58 AM PDT by layman (Card Carrying Infidel)
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To: thackney

I work for apache, and we had a convention in baton rouge 2 month’s ago bout CNG. I talked to the guy that converts automobiles to CNG and about the kit they install- on a 1/2 ton new chevy pick-up cost $11,000.00 to convert— with a compressor that goes in the back of you truck


6 posted on 07/06/2012 8:34:00 AM PDT by chicken head
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To: thackney

My previous employer used a CNG powered F-150 pickup truck. We had two CNG refueling stations, one low flow and one high flow. The high flow would fill the CNG tank in about the same amount of time as if filling the tank with gas. But because the fuel is a gas the high flow refueling would only hold enough CNG in the tank to last about 1 day. With the high flow we would have to fill the tank everyday. With the low flow, refueling would take several hours but the tank would hold enough fuel for several days driving. I guess that means high flow refueling, more friction in the flow, less fuel in the tank. Low flow refueling, less friction in the flow, more fuel in the tank.


7 posted on 07/06/2012 8:45:58 AM PDT by ops33 (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired))
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To: Wurlitzer

What about a home refuelng unit?

The original Phil brand units had some problems. But since then, BRC bought them out and now makes the compressing unit.

http://www.brcfuelmaker.it/eng/casa/phill.asp

One of their dealers is in New York.

Beavers Petroleum Equipment Company
88B Ridge Road - 14845 Horseheads,NY
Tel. +1 607 739 1790 Mail. beavpetro@aol.com

Also, the following are public access CNG locations:

Clean Energy - New York State Department of Transportation
Compressed Natural Gas
1235 Rush-Scottsville Rd
Rush NY 14543
Phone: 866-278-3674 716-272-3310
Distance: 22.8 Miles
Access: Public - card key at all times

Clean N’ Green - Waste Management
Compressed Natural Gas
100 Ransier Dr
West Seneca NY 14224
Phone: 800-950-3835
Distance: 60.7 Miles
Access: Public - credit card at all times

National Fuels - Buffalo
Compressed Natural Gas
365 Mineral Springs Rd
Buffalo NY 14210
Phone: 716-827-5505
Distance: 63.6 Miles
Access: Public - card key at all times

Central New York Regional Transportation Authority - Centro
Compressed Natural Gas
200 Cortland Ave
Syracuse NY 13202
Phone: 315-442-3333
Distance: 76.3 Miles
Access: Public - call ahead

National Fuels - Niagara Falls
Compressed Natural Gas
6250 Packard Rd
Niagara Falls NY 14304
Phone: 716-827-5505
Distance: 77.8 Miles
Access: Public - card key at all times

Clean Energy - New York State Department of Transportation
Compressed Natural Gas
5430 S Bay Rd
North Syracuse NY 13212
Phone: 866-278-3674 315-458-1910
Distance: 78.7 Miles
Access: Public - card key at all times

Clean Energy - National Grid Beacon North
Compressed Natural Gas
7496 Round Pond Rd
North Syracuse NY 13212
Phone: 866-278-3674
Distance: 81.6 Miles
Access: Public - credit card at all times

Clean Energy - New York State Department of Transportation
Compressed Natural Gas
112 Barlow Rd
Binghamton NY 13904
Phone: 866-278-3674 607-775-0522
Distance: 97.4 Miles
Access: Public - card key at all times

http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/locator/stations/


8 posted on 07/06/2012 8:48:28 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: nascarnation
But the scuttlebut on home compressor units is that they are unreliable

The original units were. That company went out of business and BRC, a company that had been making commercial sized units bought out the rights to the the Phil unit and now produce it.

9 posted on 07/06/2012 8:51:21 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: ops33
With the high flow we would have to fill the tank everyday. With the low flow, refueling would take several hours but the tank would hold enough fuel for several days driving. I guess that means high flow refueling, more friction in the flow, less fuel in the tank. Low flow refueling, less friction in the flow, more fuel in the tank.

I would guess a high rate of compression would generate significant heat limiting the amount delivered.

10 posted on 07/06/2012 8:53:46 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: nascarnation

BRC FuelMaker Again Selling Phill Home CNG Fuel Station
http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/03/brc-fuelmaker-again-selling-phill-home-cng-fuel-station.html
March 7, 2011


11 posted on 07/06/2012 8:57:21 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: layman

BRC FuelMaker Again Selling Phill Home CNG Fuel Station
http://www.autoobserver.com/2011/03/brc-fuelmaker-again-selling-phill-home-cng-fuel-station.html
March 7, 2011


12 posted on 07/06/2012 8:59:42 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

excellent article, thanks!


13 posted on 07/06/2012 9:01:34 AM PDT by ThirstyMan
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To: Wurlitzer

Clean Energy Unveils Backbone Network for America’s Natural Gas Highway
http://www.cleanenergyfuels.com/news/2012/1-12-12.html

—150 LNG Truck Fueling Stations Anticipated by End of 2013—

Seal Beach, Calif. (January 12, 2012) — The route plan for the first phase of 150 new LNG fueling stations for America’s Natural Gas Highway (ANGH) was unveiled today by Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (Nasdaq: CLNE), the leading provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America. The company has identified 98 locations and anticipates having 70 stations open by the end of 2012 in 33 states.

Many of the fueling stations will be co-located at Pilot-Flying J Travel Centers already serving goods movement trucking through an exclusive agreement with Pilot to build, own and operate natural gas fueling facilities at agreed-upon travel centers. Pilot-Flying J is the nation’s largest truck-stop operator with more than 550 retail properties in 47 states.


14 posted on 07/06/2012 9:02:02 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

the guy i talked to that installed these kits was from mississippi- i cant find his card or his web site-

http://www.phoenixenergycorp.net/


15 posted on 07/06/2012 9:03:25 AM PDT by chicken head
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To: chicken head

Dealers search for home CNG units by BRC (Phil)

http://www.brcfuelmaker.it/eng/casa/cerca.asp?click=no


16 posted on 07/06/2012 9:06:59 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

That may be true, I’m not sure. I thought it had to do with how fast the gas was flowing into the tank, higher flow rate, more friction, gas expands and fills the allowable space sooner. Lower flow rate, less friction, gas does not expand as much, allows for more of the gas to enter the tank. I could be wrong, but I did know that the longer time to fill allowed more fuel to be stored in the tank.


17 posted on 07/06/2012 9:16:13 AM PDT by ops33 (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired))
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To: thackney

read product decription below of what it does not include- like compressor, lines, tank, ect.. the cost is high to install this, but if you have a buisness that requires alot of running around then it would probally be a good investment- the guy told me that the CNG was only a 5 HP drop in the engines proformance- IMPCO designs waukesha engine carbuator parts and is very good quality.

http://www.afvcomponents.com/2011-chevrolet-1500-5-3l-v8-cng-bi-fuel-conversion-kit/


18 posted on 07/06/2012 9:27:51 AM PDT by chicken head
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To: thackney

There were a lot of comments on the net from users of the original Phill about service issues and short life between rebuilds.

I wonder if the new outfit has fixed this?

I think the real value of a nat gas car isn’t so much the cost savings per mile, but the ability to have mobility when there are supply issues.

I remember the gas supply issues of the Nixon/Carter years.


19 posted on 07/06/2012 10:13:55 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: chicken head

Sorry, I thought you were looking for the home filling unit, not the engine conversion kit.


20 posted on 07/06/2012 10:59:59 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

Thanks for the list. The one on Mineral Springs in Buffalo was the one I was referring to but I did not know the Waste Management one in West Seneca was 1) open yet 2) open to the public. Originally it was for their vehicles.

With the West Seneca one, if open to the public then I’ll relook at the dual fuel conversion kits.


21 posted on 07/06/2012 12:07:10 PM PDT by Wurlitzer (Nothing says "ignorance" like Islam!)
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