Part of a Plan to Convert Nearly 6,000 Vehicles to Natural Gas
Chesapeake Energy, a leading natural gas exploration and production outfit, continues to make progress in converting its own fleet to compressed natural gas, with 1,419 vehicles out of a total fleet of 5,894 converted to bi-fuel CNG-gasoline or dual fuel natural gas-diesel operation as of this month.
“In 2010, Chesapeake committed to converting its entire fleet to run on CNG over the next four years,” says senior market development coordinator Eddie Coates.
The first phase of the E&P’s four-phase plan has been completed, as all of the company’s vehicles in its headquarters state of Oklahoma, 1,090 units, Coates says, have been converted.
Also as of this month, 149 Chesapeake vehicles in Louisiana and 21 in Texas have been converted (out of more than 1,200 in those two states), as have 152 department and pool vehicles. Phase three will see conversion of more than 1,000 Chesapeake vehicles in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, after which the company will tackle other operating areas.
Chesapeake logs more than 120 million miles per year, Coates says. Three-quarter ton trucks make up 55% of the fleet, and half-ton trucks 32%.
Assuming fuel savings of $1.50 per GGE-gasoline gallon equivalent and an $11,000 price premium for a Chevrolet Silverado 2500 bi-fuel pickup (the figure just announced by GM), Coates pegs the life-cycle cost benefit of a CNG bi-fuel pickup at $3,818 if driven 90,000 miles, $7,560 if driven 150,000 miles, and $13,909 if driven 175,000 miles – even without tax credits.
Chesapeake expects to save at least $12 million per year on fuel once its fleet conversion is completed, he says.
Besides its fleet conversion efforts, Chesapeake is a major backer of Clean Energy Fuels and its efforts to bring natural gas fueling to truck stops nationwide, more recently got behind a new lightweight CNG fuel tank development effort by 3M, and has teamed with GE on both CNG and LNG (liquefied natural gas) fueling via its new Peake Fuel Solutions affiliate.
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