Portland, OR Metro Area Experiments With CNG Buses

SMART Introduces CNG Buses
Wilsonville, Oregon KATU – Monday, November 21, 2011
South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) invites the public to view the city’s two new, 21-passenger Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the SMART Operations Building, 8455 SW Elligsen Road, Wilsonville, OR 97070.

During the event, Mayor Tim Knapp will fuel a bus using the Compressed Natural Gas fueling station. The Mayor and others will say a few words about the process involved in bringing two alternative-fuel vehicles to the city’s transit system. SMART will also provide tours of the new buses and rides for those who are interested. Continue reading

An Ultra Low Emission Natural Gas/Electric Urban Vehicle

The G-City Concept Car

At the ‘Techno Buzz’ session of the Mobilis 2011 conference held mid-November in Belfort, France, a new natural gas – electric concept car was presented. This vehicle, a partnership between GDF Suez (CRIGEN), FAM Automobiles and France Craft, is said to be the first natural gas / biomethane to electric traction vehicle. Its design can be adapted for use as a pick-up (see image) or to carry four people.

The realization of this concept car aims to demonstrate the technical and environmental potential offered by the combination of gas and electric energy on the small commercial vehicles segment in urban areas. It also demonstrates the performance and compactness of the GDF Suez developed and patented engine.

The concept vehicle is not reliant on developed infrastructure for refueling. An information sheet calls upon people to “Imagine an innovative way of storing and distributing gas fuel, which does not require the “heavy” establishment of of service stations in urban areas.”

The G-City uses an innovative on-board recharging of the batteries through a new compact engine, powered by ”snap” natural gas / biomethane cartridges (2 cartridges 6.8 liters) made of lightweight composite materials. This range-extender gas gives a G-City electric range greater than 200 km. The quick connector system (type “snap”) is secure, ergonomic and industrialized (developed with the company Stäubli).

CO2 emissions and local pollutants (NOx, CO, particulates) are zero in electric mode and very low during operation of the range-extender (engine + generator).

(This article compiled using information from a partnership information sheet. Also thanks to Association Française du Gaz Naturel pour Véhicules (AFGNV)).


Amirita Sen from Barclays


Here’s a fairly alarming prediction heading into the seasonally strong winter months for oil prices. Amrita Sen, commodities analyst at Barclays was interview on CNBC recently to discuss the outlook for energy prices and to shed some light as to why oil prices have diverged from many other commodities and remained so firm in the face of severe global headwinds. Sen says the likelihood of prices falling much below current levels is close to nil:

“It’s been the supply side. Libya went off the market. Lots of problems in the North Sea. Brazil, I mean, there were problems everywhere. Inventories Are about are about 50 million below the seasonal average heading into the winter. There is no way prices can fall much from where they are now. You just don’t have enough inventories around.”

Not a good sign for the economy. Cost push inflation via rising energy prices is likely to continue to be a major headwind in the future. Real resources continue to hinder economic growth. Like the last few years, this is going to be a major risk heading into 2012.

See the full interview here. It’s quite good:

First Tests of LNG for HD Vehicles in France


France, Bénesse-Maremne

Transports P. Mendy, a French transportation company, in partnership with GNVERT (GDF Suez) and IVECO France, will perform the first French tests under operating conditions of heavy vehicles running on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), at Bénesse-Maremne (Landes). LNG fuel combines the ecological and economic benefits of natural gas and diesel fuel autonomy: 1000 km for trucks. This first results from the commitment of all stakeholders involved in the development and promotion of a sector “clean” in the transportation of goods.

Stored in liquid form at -160 °, the fuel gas allows a range of 1000 km for trucks and opens the way for LNG-powered long haul as a real alternative to diesel. The reliability of LNG is proven by the use for nearly 15 years of natural gas fuel in its gaseous form (CNG), which supplies daily in France more than 2300 buses (about 15% of buses run on CNG in France) and hundreds of street cleaning vehicles (almost 14% of clean urban vehicles run on CNG in France).

Mainly composed of methane, natural gas is a sustainable fuel that emits no fine particles (often responsible for respiratory diseases in urban areas), 80% reduced emissions of nitrogen oxides and up to 25% CO2 emissions. It halves the noise and reduces engine vibration at all speeds of operation.

Transports P. Mendy is conducting the trial using an IVECO truck, a 38-tonne Stralis AT 440S33 LNG, in partnership with GNVERT (GDF Suez). For nearly 3 weeks of operation, the tests include a regional delivery system for supermarkets and a long distance circuit taking in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques. A Cursor 8 CNG turbo engine turbo developing 330 hp, uses the principle of stoichiometric combustion to achieve high energy efficiency and emissions of NOx and particles 3 times lower than the limits to be imposed in 2014 by the Euro VI regulations.

According to a separate AFP report, Iveco France will commence mass production of the LNG-optioned truck.

(This article primarily compiled using information from a joint GNVert – Mendy Transports – IVECO press release)

Iraq oil minister expects OPEC to cut output at Dec meeting

“…oil prices of $100-120/barrel were “reasonable and acceptable.”

Iraq’s oil minister Abdul Karim Luaibi said Tuesday in Tokyo that he expected OPEC to cut crude output at its December meeting in anticipation of weaker demand for oil next year.

Luaibi, who responded to written questions from the media, also said that oil prices of $100-120/barrel were “reasonable and acceptable.”

Iraq has been exempt from OPEC production allocations as it rebuilds its shattered oil industry.

OPEC ministers are due to meet in Vienna on December 14, the 12-member group’s first formal conference since the acrimonious June 8 meeting when Iran, Algeria, Angola, Venezuela, Libya and Ecuador blocked a Saudi-backed proposal to raise actual estimated output from all 12 members by 1.5 million b/d.

A Platts survey of OPEC, oil industry officials and analysts last week estimated OPEC output at 30.05 million b/d in October.

OPEC Secretary General Abdalla el-Badri said in Riyadh on Sunday that he believed OPEC might maintain current production next year, unless there were, what he called, “negative” economic developments.

–Takeo Kumagai, takeo_kumagai@platts.com

Natural Gas Splits Boone Pickens and Koch Bros While Oil Reaches $100

Written by energyscout on November 21, 2011

Call it a coincidence but there are undeniable linkages. Crude oil has risen once again is flirting with $100 a barrel. Meanwhile, legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens is ratcheting up his push for legislation that would boost the development of U.S. shale natural gas reserves and deploy the cleanest burning fossil fuel to supplant products refined from oil.

“The alternative is to continue relying on the Middle East for oil, which has cost the United States about $7 trillion since 1976, in return for about 5 million barrels of oil a day,” Pickens told about 3,200 participants at Hart Energy’s DUG East shale gas conference in Pittsburgh Nov. 16.

As U.S. policymakers and the thousands of professionals trying to influence them scramble to make sense of America’s bounty of accessible reserves of shale natural gas throughout Appalachia, Texas, the Great Plains and elsewhere, the opportunities and the challenges facing the natural gas industry grow more visible with each passing week.

But do enough people care? Does Congress have the ability and willingness to act?

The answers to both questions thus far is almost a resounding NO. Continue reading

‘Natural Gas Highway’ prepares to remove diesel fumes from 18-wheelers in the Southwest


Nathanial Gronewold, E&E reporter

ClimateWire: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

HOUSTON — Oil and gas companies in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana are quickly laying the groundwork for a major effort to convert much of the nation’s diesel-fueled heavy vehicle network to burn gas instead.

Though a similar incentive system now faces an uncertain future in Washington, earlier this year a bill to help create a natural gas trucking corridor in Texas sailed through the state Legislature. The bill diverts funds from the Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP) to help pay for the expensive vehicle conversions.

And last month industry officials say they completed a study that confirms the economic feasibility of its Texas Clean Transport Triangle project, which aims to install liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations throughout the region connecting the Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston metropolitan areas.

A liquefaction facility to turn gas into a transport fuel is already up and running in Willis, Texas, just north of Houston, servicing trucks and fleets here and a filling station in Baytown. Clean Energy Fuels, the company that says it is working to build “America’s natural gas highway,” operates the Willis liquefied natural gas plant.

“It will supply the entire triangle,” said Michael Sullivan, who handles the firm’s south-central operations.

More is coming, and project boosters say that within two years they will have finished rolling out the nation’s largest clean transportation corridor, covering the triangle and extending into New Orleans, Oklahoma City and eventually the Rocky Mountain states.

“We’ve seen this work in California successfully, and we’ve seen this work in other parts of the country — in Salt Lake City — so we thought, ‘What would it take to get up and running here in Texas?'” said Lynn Lyon, manager of strategic projects at Pioneer Natural Resources Co. “As the No. 1 producer of natural gas in the United States, we should be able to see how to use our local resources.” Continue reading

Austin to Boston on Natural Gas

Last summer, Castlen Kennedy went on a 10-day, 2,500 mile roadtrip from Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts. Driving with her friend, Cheryl Dalton, Castlen drove through 13 states in this 10-day period, all in the comfort of a Chevy Tahoe that had been converted to run on natural gas, in addition to gasoline. Over the 2,500 miles, Castlen and Cheryl managed to drive exclusively on natural gas, saving about 22% in total fuel costs and 25% in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions compared to a gasoline vehicle. And, they showed how this alternative fuel can work even in the face of limited infrastructure.

The “chicken and the egg” problem is often cited as being a killer of alternative transportation fuel proposals, including natural gas. For shorter trips, owners can fill their tanks with natural gas or charge their batteries with electricity in their own garage. But, alternative fuel vehicle owners can face difficulties when going on a roadtrip that requires them to travel longer distances.

Today, the transportation sector is optimized for petroleum-based fuels. There are nearly 130,000 fueling stations around the country where on can fill their vehicle with gasoline and (often) diesel. But, in most cases, the infrastructure doesn’t currently exist for alternative fuels on a large scale, a notable exception being the E10 that can be found at almost every filling station thanks to federal regulations. For example, there are only about 1,000 natural gas filling stations throughout the United States, which can pose a problem to natural gas vehicle owners.

During their roadtrip, Castlen and Cheryl showed how one can successfully navigate through the limited infrastructure problem (with a few sacrifices in spontaneity). While their Tahoe had the ability to run on gasoline, they were able to use natural gas exclusively for their 2,500 trek from Austin to Boston. And, since they were followed on their journey by a gasoline-only Chevy Avalanche (running with the same engine and chassis as the Tahoe), Castlen and Cheryl were able to provide a real-world comparison of natural gas versus gasoline for long distance travel. Continue reading

Saudis Decide Not to Expand Oil Production Capacity, Focus on Natural Gas Instead

(Platts)–21Nov2011/537 am EST/1037 GMT

Saudi Arabia is focusing on developing its conventional gas reserves and expanding its downstream refining and chemicals industries rather than invest in expanding oil production beyond the kingdom’s needs, Saudi Aramco CEO Khalid al-Falih said Monday.

“Given the increased availability and distribution of oil reserves, I think there was pressure on the kingdom and on Saudi Arabia to raise production beyond the needs of Saudi Arabia. That pressure I would see is substantially reduced,” Falih said in a question and answer session of an energy event in Riyadh.

“Our focus is to invest heavily in gas, in downstream, in refining and, something that is new to Aramco, in chemicals,” Falih said, adding that this would provide the state-owned company a global footprint. Continue reading

Natural Gas Extraction Creates A Boom For Sand

The rise of fracking as a method for extracting natural gas from shale rock has triggered demand for a key ingredient in the process: silica sand. In parts of the upper Midwest, there’s been a rush to mine this increasingly valuable product.

In northeast Iowa, a mine recently reopened to profit from the new demand. It’s owned by the Pattison family, who have run a grain business for decades. They had been storing the grain in the old, unused mine tunnels carved into the cliffs and then loading it onto barges to ship downriver. They pretty much ignored the sandstone all around them.

But then one day owner Kyle Pattison got a phone call. Continue reading