Encouraging News from the CNG Front
Earlier this week while in Lafayette, my good friend Steve Romero with Pro-Log told me about a natural gas filling station. I asked Steve if it was a CNG (compressed natural gas) or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas-e.g. propane or butane) station and related my long standing fascination with the prospects of CNG as a transportation fuel. In the late 80’s/early 90’s my family and I lived in Southeast Asia. I was very impressed that all the taxis in Bangkok used CNG from the Gulf of Siam. From a financial and environmental perspective, CNG was a perfect choice.
Steve did not know which type of natural gas fuel was being used in Lafayette, but graciously agreed to a detour to see for ourselves. It was a conveniently located, unmanned Apache station, open 24 hours a day and accepted all major credit and fleet cards. Unfortunately we were unable to determine which type of fuel was being dispensed. Since the prices were quoted in gallons, I assumed this was an LPG facility. However, when I got back to Houston I did a Google search and found that the station was, in fact, selling CNG. Better yet, the project has been enthusiastically supported by both the local public and private sectors (http://investor.apachecorp.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=691420 ).
Boone Pickens, Chesapeake and Exxon have been advocates for the use of CNG as a transportation fuel at the national level. However, this Apache station is the first tangible evidence of actually moving forward at the local consumer level that I have personally seen.
I was further encouraged to learn that Quantum Fuel Systems has announced $2 million in additional orders for CNG storage tanks (http://www.rigzone.com/news/oil_gas/a/131488/Quantum ). These orders are from both existing and new customers in the U.S. and Canada and reflect the continued strong growth in CNG use. In my opinion, this is encouraging news for both the industry and the nation.