Clean Energy receives $150 million investment, brings 2011 total to $450 million

Investments focused on spurring natural gas-powered transportation.

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Following a $150 million infusion in August geared towards an effort to grow the United States natural gas vehicle sector, Clean Energy Fuels Corp., the largest provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in North America, recently announced company investors, including Clean Fuels chairman and founder T. Boone Pickens, invested another $150 million into the company in late December.

This brings the total investor capital into Clean Fuels in 2011 to $450 million. This most recent investment was due to the exercise of Pickens’ warrants to purchase 15 million shares of the company’s common stock at $10 per share.

Clean Energy President and CEO Andrew J. Littlefair said in a statement that these investments are a “a tremendous affirmation of both Clean Energy as the leader in natural gas vehicle fueling in America and our America’s Natural Gas Highway initiative that is expanding natural gas fueling infrastructure in cities throughout the country.”  He added that Clean Energy has a significant program underway to develop CNG (compressed natural gas) and LNG (liquefied natural gas) fueling stations serving fleets in the long-haul, regional and port trucking markets, as well as for solid waste, transit, airport and municipal transportation nationwide. 

Along with developing CNG and LNG fueling stations, this capital also includes the development, construction and operation of these stations and the related support, management, maintenance and marketing of them, including the development, construction and operation of offloading facilities, related production assets and delivery trucks.

Chesapeake CEO Aubrey K. McLendon said on a July media conference call that these ongoing investments into the company are 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 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 in a previous interview 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, 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. Contact Jeff Berman

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