TravelCenters of America answered questions on whether to support the emerging natural gas market today with the help of Shell Oil Products, TA CEO Tom O’Brien says.
TravelCenters of America LLC (TA) entered a memorandum of understanding with Shell Oil Products US and its affiliates to construct and run a network of liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling lanes at its locations along the U.S. Interstate Highway System.
The memorandum of understanding considers that Shell will construct and TA will operate more than 200 LNG fueling lanes at about 100 TA sites and Petro Stopping Centers. More TA locations might be added, depending on customer demand.
Thomas O’Brien, TA CEO, president and management director said TA wants to support the emerging natural gas market.
“We need options for fueling,” O’Brien told CSD. “(TA has) the largest set of assets open. We see potential demand here that over time, we expect will grow.”
O’Brien said truck fleet operators don’t have much choice on the fuel they use today. He said for them, it’s “diesel or diesel” when they stop by for fuel.
The first of the LNG fuel lanes are expected to launch in 2013. Elen Phillips, vice president for Shell fuel sales and marketing North America, said LNG fuel is a good alternative to diesel fuel for truck fleet operators. She said LNG fuel could help customers meet high air quality emission standards.
“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,” Phillips said.
Last year, Shell announced it would sell LNG fuel to its heavy-duty fleet customers at Flying J truck stops in Alberta, Canada starting in 2012. The agreement between Shell and TA represents the next phase for Shell in its plan to provide truck fleet customers in North America with a robust fueling infrastructure.
TA, headquartered in Westlake, Ohio, is the largest full-service travel center business in the U.S. with 238 convenient locations off interstate highway exits.