DeSoto LNG station first in Louisiana

02 25, 2012 by Shreveport Times

A liquefied natural gas fueling station formally opened Friday by EnCana Natural Gas Inc. at the Relay Station holds the distinction of many "firsts." It's the first:

LNG station open in Louisiana.

Public LNG station in the U.S.

Location for Heckmann Water Resources to use LNG trucks.

And when the Relay Station in a couple of months opens its compressed natural gas pumps, the facility will be the first in the state to offer four fueling options: LNG, compressed natural gas, or CNG, gasoline and diesel.

So it was no surprise that 100 or so industry representatives, public officials and residents filled a tent on the blustery afternoon to mark the historic occasion. Recognitions and speeches were followed by the traditional ribbon-cutting.

But guests also had the chance to view LNG in action. Tractor-trailers fueled at the LNG pumps as quick as the gasoline pumps, albeit with a little heavier dispenser.

LNG differs from CNG in that it's more dense and suitable for heavier vehicles such as Heckmann's fleet of water transport trucks, ships, barges or mining equipment.

Natural gas-powered cars and trucks fueled with CNG or LNG operate similarly to gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles and generally have a longer operating life because of the cleaner combustion.

Converting freight trucks and commercial vehicles also has an immediate effect on saving fuel costs and reducing carbon emissions.

Converting one 18-wheeler from diesel to LNG is equivalent to removing the emissions of about 325 cars from the road. Estimated savings range from 20 percent to 40 percent cheaper than gasoline or diesel.

EnCana forged ahead with the LNG station after cementing a partnership with Heckmann Water Resources, which provides water management services to EnCana and other Haynesville Shale operators, to use the pumps in its vast Haynesville Shale operations. The pumps are now available for public use.

David Hill, EnCana's vice president of natural gas operations, believes if more would embrace the alternate fuel choices, which burn cleaner than gasoline or diesel, it would give America the competitive advantage as the fuel future clouds with so much foreign unrest.

The energy industry's future brightens as LNG is supplied for export at a Sabine Pass facility in southwest Louisiana and from West Coast sites.

Producing a resource taken from the Haynesville Shale and moving it to other parts of the world "improves the wealth of our country," said Eric Marsh, EnCana executive vice president.

EnCana walks the talk, Marsh said, and in addition to the LNG station, the company has opened six CNG stations across the country, including one near Coushatta, converted 14 of its drilling rigs (four of which are in the U.S.) to natural gas power and shifted its vehicle fleet to natural gas.

Natural gas rigs saved the company about $3,000 a day, or $12 million total last year, meaning the EnCana's wells are cheaper to operate than those of other companies.

About $100,000 in savings was realized last year in the fleet conversion, said Paul Sander, vice president of EnCana's Mid-Continent Business Unit.

Heckmann President Chuck Gordon admitted hesitancy when approached by EnCana about the LNG partnership. But it wasn't long after he considered the safety, reliability, economical savings and environmental friendliness of LNG that he was on board.

Heckmann operates 600 trucks nationwide, with 200 of those in the Haynesville Shale. The company ordered 200 LNG trucks, and 60 have been deployed to date.

"It feels good to use a fuel produced in America," he said. "We've been given a gift and we need to use it wisely."

EnCana recently secured a contract with Pivotal LNG, a subsidiary of AGL Resources Inc., which owns and operates a major liquefaction facility. This contract enables EnCana to provide LNG to consumers and creates further opportunities for natural gas in the transportation sector.