‘Critical to Seeding Natural Gas Transportation Market’
Encana has commissioned a small liquefied natural gas plant – approximately 4,000 to 5,000 LNG gallons daily – some 34 miles east of Calgary. “The Cavalier LNG facility will play a key role in providing an alternative fuel to diesel for heavy-duty transportation including rail and long-haul trucking,” the company said.
First customers of the Cavalier LNG facility include Calgary-based Ferus, a cryogenics-specializing energy services company, and CN, the Canadian National Railway, which late this past summer confirmed that it is testing two mainline diesel-electric locomotives fueled principally by natural gas (F&F, September 19).
The new LNG plant “demonstrates Encana’s commitment to lead by example and build the necessary infrastructure to support a transportation future driven by natural gas.” It is “infrastructure critical to seeding natural gas for [the] transportation market,” the company said.
“The Cavalier LNG facility represents a milestone as it will be the first ever in Alberta to offer LNG, a more affordable and cleaner fuel option for the transportation industry,” Encana senior and executive VP Eric Marsh said in a release. It “demonstrates how Encana has progressed from the concept of a natural gas-based energy portfolio to a business model of safely and efficiently providing the fuel to new markets.”
A Larger Plant with Ferus
The CN locomotives, converted to LNG-diesel dual fuel operation with the support of Tacoma, Wash.-based Energy Conversions, Inc., were cleared for regular revenue service on October 27, ECI consultant Leslie Olson said at the World LNG Fuels conference in Houston last week.
“The CN project is the first of its kind in Canada,” says Encana. “Natural gas is a viable transportation fuel for the rail sector, and CN’s pilot project demonstrates the transportation industry’s growing awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas,” said David Hill, Encana natural gas economy operations VP.
Ferus specializes “in delivering integrated solutions to the energy industry,” Encana says. Ferus early last year deployed the first LNG tractor in Alberta, a Peterbilt 367 with Westport HD fuel system and 15-liter engine (F&F, March 20). Later in the year a second LNG truck was added. “We plan to convert our entire truck fleet over the next five years,” said president and CEO Richard Brown.
Ferus is working with Encana on a 50,000-gallon-per-day LNG plant near Grande Prairie, Alberta, some 290 miles northwest of Edmonton, to supply fuel for energy exploration and production (E&P), mines, trains, and trucks (F&F, December 19).
“There is significant growth potential for natural gas in the transportation sector when you consider the sheer abundance of this resource that has been unlocked in North America through huge technological advances in unconventional production,” said Encana VP Hill.
Encana for CNG Too
“Combining the on-road trucking with the rail and oil and gas supply chain segments represents around 30%, or 22 billion cubic feet per day of total North American transportation fuel consumption,” he said.
Encana’s new Cavalier LNG plant receives its feedstock from Encana’s neighboring Cavalier gas plant. The natural gas is then treated to remove impurities such as water, carbon dioxide and mercaptan, and directed into a cryogenic heat exchanger where liquid nitrogen (-196°C) cools the methane to a liquid state (-160°C). The resulting liquefied natural gas is stored in cryogenic tanks on-site for truck fueling or bulk tanker loading.
Encana notes that it owns and operates an LNG fueling station in Louisiana, as well as ten mobile LNG fueling stations, and seven compressed natural gas stations. The company says it’s committed to converting its own fleet of more than 1,300 trucks and passenger vehicles to natural gas. “In 2011 alone, the company saved approximately $11 million in fuel costs by using natural gas instead of diesel in company trucks and has converted close to 40% of its drilling rigs.”
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Source: Encana Corp with Fleets & Fuels follow-up