Shell Canada and Caterpillar have signed an agreement to test
a new engine and fuel mix using liquefied natural gas (LNG)
that could reduce operating costs and lead to reduced emissions
from oil sands mining in
northern Alberta, the companies said on Monday.
Caterpillar will leverage its experience with LNG in other
applications, and will continue development work to design
and build a fully integrated mining truck where LNG displaces
most of the diesel power -- also known as dual fuel.
Through this agreement, Caterpillar will test the
design at Shell's oil sands operations located near Fort
"To succeed commercially in the future, we believe we have to
be able to compete both economically and environment
ally. We believe that
is what Canadians want," said Shell vice president of oil
sands John Rhind. "With heavy hauling being such a core part
of our operation, success with this could make a real
difference in our operations costs and emissions
In addition to the new truck Caterpillar is developing, Shell
will also retrofit existing trucks from its fleet with the
new engine for the trial, as well as provide fuelling
infrastructure, at its Shell Albian Sands operation near Fort
This trial follows a trend for Shell in looking at options to
use Canada's abundant natural gas as a fuel in marine and
road transportation, and other industrial situations.
"We are excited to collaborate with Shell on this latest
initiative to power Cat
with Caterpillar's LNG technology
," said Chris Curfman,
Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for its mining
sales and support division.
"Many of our customers are asking for natural-gas powered
equipment in order to reap the financial and environment
al benefits," he added.
"This agreement further builds upon our efforts in delivering
cost effective, reliable and innovative solutions to our
Field testing of dual fuel powered mining trucks at Shell's
oil sands operations is expected to begin in 2016, with the
trial expected to last up to one year.