Chesapeake Energy’s Fleet Experience with NGVs

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Tim Den­ny, Vice Pres­i­dent – Admin­is­tra­tion at Chesa­peake Ener­gy, told the audi­ence at Tel­o­gis Lat­i­tude about his company’s expe­ri­ence inte­grat­ing nat­ur­al gas vehi­cles (NGVs) into its fleet. The ener­gy com­pa­ny plays a major role in man­ag­ing wells that extract nat­ur­al gas in North Amer­i­ca, and is also play­ing a role in bring­ing the fuel­ing infra­struc­ture to the mar­ket.

In 2008, the com­pa­ny start­ed bring­ing in com­pressed nat­ur­al gas vehi­cles to its fleet. Chesa­peake Ener­gy has about 4,000 vehi­cles in its fleet and pre­dicts that they’ll all be nat­ur­al gas-pow­ered by 2016. As for cost, the com­pa­ny has spent about $9,000 per vehi­cle for the con­ver­sion kit. With fuel sav­ings of about $1.50 per gal­lon and life­cy­cle fuel sav­ings of about $2,100, the com­pa­ny has found its pay-off time to be 38.9 months. This is based on run­ning fleet vehi­cles over a four year, 120,000 mile analy­sis peri­od.

Chesa­peake Ener­gy is work­ing with Gen­er­al Elec­tric by inte­grat­ing GE’s “sta­tion in a box” prod­uct into its fuel­ing net­work. It offers a self-con­tained design that’s faster to set up than tra­di­tion­al CNG sta­tions.

Nat­ur­al gas vehi­cles are very small in num­bers com­pared to oth­er parts of the world. Accord­ing to Den­ny, there are 15 mil­lion NGVs in the world, with less than 1% on US roads. One prob­lem in the US is the fuel­ing infra­struc­ture; there are only 600 nat­ur­al gas pub­lic fuel­ing sta­tions ver­sus about 120,000 gaso­line sta­tions. Many fleets are start­ing to adopt them, and appre­ci­ate that nat­ur­al gas is cost­ing the equiv­a­lent of $1.95 to $2.35 per gal­lon at the pump, and is com­par­ing very com­pet­i­tive­ly with gaso­line and diesel.

OEMs bring­ing NGVs to mar­ket is help­ing the sit­u­a­tion as well, Den­ny said. Ford, GM, Chrysler, and Hon­da have been sup­port­ive on the light-duty side and Vol­vo, Peter­bilt Nav­is­tar Freight­lin­er and Ken­worth have been on the com­mer­cial side.

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