Shell and its affiliates have signed a memorandum of understanding with TravelCenters of America (TA) to sell liquefied natural gas (LNG) to heavy-duty truckers through TA's existing network of stations.
The proposed plans include constructing more than 200 LNG fuel lanes at about 100 TA sites and Petro Stopping Centers throughout the US interstate highway system, the companies said.
If a final agreement is reached, the first of the LNG fuel lanes are expected to become operational in 2013.
"Using natural gas for transport gives truck fleet operators a new strong advantage because it's abundant and affordable and a viable alternative to diesel," said Elen Phillips, vice president of Shell Fuels Sales & Marketing in North America.
"This potential alliance with TA would enable Shell to deliver LNG fuel to customers who want a competitively priced fuel option to help them meet increasingly stringent air quality emission standards.
Shell says demand is growing for innovative fuels, like LNG fuel, from heavy-duty transport customers. Benefits can include lower fuel costs and improved local air quality from reduced emissions, particularly nitrogen oxide as well as reduced noise levels.
"Shell sees 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, said Phillips.
Where it makes sense and where there is customer demand, we will innovate to deliver LNG as an additional fuel offer to our customers across America.
Last year, Shell announced it would sell LNG to its heavy-duty fleet customers at select Flying J truck stops in Alberta, Canada, starting in 2012. The first LNG retail stop in Calgary is slated to open this year.
Shell says the announcements show progress in its strategy to develop a global downstream LNG fuel sales business.
That proposed business includes commercial customers in the truck sector but also other growth areas - notably marine, mining and rail, according to the company.