Shell Oil is making a major commitment to liquefied natural gas development in North America and estimates a sizable LNG infrastructure will be in place in five years.
How much an infrastructure will develop will depend on several factors, including market demand and investment, said James Burns, general manager of LNG Gas for Transport Americas for Shell. Speaking during a media event Feb. 9, in Park City, Utah, he added that diesel and LNG will be the fuels of choice for transportation in 2050.
The company is working on an LNG project in Alberta and is participating in shale oil fields in Pennsylvania, Texas and Canada. In Alberta, Shell is building a small LNG plant scheduled to be ready in the third quarter of 2013. Three Flying J fueling stations that supply LNG will be open along a major highway in this year’s third quarter, Burns said, with another company to supply the LNG until the plant comes online.
Burns said Shell is working with fleets on moving toward LNG-powered trucking. LNG trucks can cost 50 percent or more than diesel-fueled trucks, but the fuel currently costs around $2.50 a gallon. Burns estimated a payback from the investment in two to three years.
Navistar Inc. and natural gas provider Clean Energy Fuels Corp. last week announced a major initiative to develop gas-powered medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks and a nationwide infrastructure to fuel them.