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Clean Energy to receive another $150 million investment to spur natural gas-powered transportation

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
August 30, 2011

Clean Energy Fuels Corp., the largest provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America, said it will be the beneficiary of a cumulative $150 million investment as part of an effort to boost the United States natural gas vehicle sector.

The three investor groups, according to Clean Energy, are Springleaf Investments Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd., Lionfish Investments Pte Ltd, an investment vehicle managed by Seatown Holdings International Pte. Ltd, both based in Singapore, and Greenwich Asset Holding Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RRJ Capital Master Fund I, L.P.

Clean Energy officials said this investment will go towards supporting its fueling infrastructure building program, including the development, construction and operation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and the related support, management, maintenance and marketing of those stations, including the development, construction and operation of offloading facilities, related production assets and delivery trucks.

“Our development program for fueling station-building is expanding rapidly and we welcome the support provided by the funds,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, President and CEO of Clean Energy, in a statement. “We are steadily adding stations serving fleets in the refuse, transit, airport, municipal and regional trucking markets around the country as well as through our recently announced build out of the backbone of America’s Natural Gas Highway for trucking.”

This news represents the second $150 million investment into Clean Energy this summer.

In July, Chesapeake Energy, the second largest natural gas producer in the country, said it is committing $150 million into Clean Energy. The objective of this investment, according to Chesapeake, is to support the transition by shippers and trucking operators from diesel to natural gas fuel.

Chesapeake CEO Aubrey K. McLendon said on a July media conference call that this effort is part of a plan to move America away from its roughly $400 billion annual investment on OPEC oil and move towards energy independence over the next ten years.

And he added that natural gas costs roughly $1.50-to-$2 per gallon less than gasoline and diesel fuel.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 98 percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is sourced in the U.S. and Canada. And Clean Energy added that the use of natural gas fuel reduces costs significantly for vehicle and fleet owners, reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 30% in light-duty vehicles and 23% in medium to heavy-duty vehicles. Additionally, natural gas is a secure North American energy source with 98% of the natural gas consumed produced in the U.S. and Canada.

As LM has reported, these investments are coming at a time when the United States imports oil from OPEC at a cost of roughly $1 billion per day, and globally, OPEC revenues for oil purchases this year will be $1 trillion, according to Clean Fuels chairman and founder T. Boone Pickens. And of that $1 trillion annual tally, the U.S. is on the hook for 25 percent of that bill on a daily basis, said Pickens.

Brittain Ladd, global supply chain consultant for CapGemini Consulting, told LM that investments in increased drilling of LNG, green gasoline technology, and LNG truck refueling stations is certainly going to be met with interest from the trucking industry and shippers.

“I have no doubt that the use of LNG will increase in the years ahead,” said Ladd. “However, what needs to be understood by all is that the demand for energy is so great in the US and the world that OPEC will continue to play a key role in meeting world energy needs. Additionally, OPEC is also investing heavily in alternative fuel technologies such as LNG, solar, and biomass so I would encourage the key players involved in the development of energy to make a commitment for collaboration and not confrontation.”

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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