Cenovus Adopts CNG at Pelican Lake
Cenovus Energy held a grand opening for their first CNG fuelling site located at their Pelican Lake operations near Wabasca, Alberta; about 4 hours north of Edmonton. The site is being used to fuel two dozen work trucks that operate in the area, displacing gasoline and reducing their carbon footprint by about 25%.
The trucks Cenovus is using are Ford 3/4 ton pickups with their engines converted to use CNG or gasoline. The performance on either fuel is comparable and the drivers can change between them with the flip of a switch. With CNG, their driving range is approximately 300 km, allowing them to undertake the same work cycle as their strictly-gasoline counterparts. As well, fuelling time with CNG is comparable to a gasoline fill-up so there is no inconvenience for the drivers.
This site is significant in a number of ways. It is the first new CNG vehicle fuelling station developed in Alberta in about 10 years, signalling the beginning of a growth trend in the use of this abundant and affordable vehicle fuel. By years' end, it is estimated there will be at least two more similar new CNG fuelling facilities under development in Alberta, plus plans for establishing several more, including a fuelling corridor that could bring natural gas to the transportation sector in a much bigger way. This is in addition to the existing network of approximately a dozen CNG stations scattered around Alberta.
The adoption of compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicle fuelling is also significant in that it demonstrates the economic viability of switching from mainstream fuels like diesel and gasoline even for small- and medium-sized fleets. Natural gas resources, abundant from recent advancements in shale gas recovery methods, are expected to provide long-term price stability and domestic energy security to both Canada and the US over the coming years. This comes as welcome news to transporation fleet operators needing to reduce costs and vehicle carbon emissions.
Cenovus' leadership in the adoption of CNG at Pelican Lake sends a sgnal to industry that natural gas deserves a closer look and careful consideration as an important alternative for transporation needs in the future.
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