Chinese private company ENN Group Co. Ltd. plans to set up a
network of natural gas refueling stations along US highways for
heavy-duty trucks. ENN aims to establish 50 locations in 2013
According to industry experts, natural
gas stations cost around $1 million (MM) to build, on
average, which pegs ENN's US investments for this year at
around $50 MM. ENN has partnered with Utah-based company, CH4
Energy Corp., to develop the network.
The two companies operate under the name Blu LNG,
which is a segment of their joint venture, Transfuels LLC. ENN
holds a majority stake in the JV. The Chinese firm also hopes
to construct LNG
plants in the future.
Chinese companies appear eager to invest in the US shale
boom. ENN's plans come on the heels of a February announcement
by Chinese state oil firm Sinopec that the firm will spend $1
billion to acquire oil and gas assets in the Mississippi Lime
shale play from Chesapeake Energy.
ENN is one of a small number of companies looking to enlarge
the US' natural
gas fueling infrastructure. Other players include Royal
Dutch Shell and Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which is backed by US
natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy and oil tycoon T. Boone
Clean Energy aims to construct 50 to 60 natural gas stations
in the US this year. Shell has plans to open 100 stations,
although it has not set forth a timeline for these projects.
An expanded natural gas refueling infrastructure will
translate into large cost savings for trucking companies.
Shippers can save approximately $2 per gallon by fueling their
trucks with natural gas instead of diesel.
A bigger network of refueling stations will also increase
the popularity of natural gas vehicles in the US by ensuring
that long-haul trucks are able to refuel along their highway
ENN has already established natural gas refueling stations
in China, which is ahead of the US in its use of natural
Additional details about ENN Group's expansion plans can be found in
this Reuters article.