Many can agree that our dependency on foreign sources of energy poses a serious threat to our national security and economic stability. As we speak, conversations about our future energy needs are occurring in committee rooms on Capitol Hill and in the homes of everyday Americans. In my opinion, a future moving towards the utilization of natural gas should be a large component of these conversations.
Natural gas is a highly efficient and inherently clean burning source of energy. Liquefied and compressed natural gas (CNG) can be utilized to heat our homes, run our plants, and even power our vehicles.
Awash with an abundance of natural gas, Louisiana could potentially become a leading example to the success of CNG. With the momentous find of the Haynesville Shale, there are nearly 250 trillion reasons why CNG should work for Louisiana. Containing trillions of cubic feet of potential natural gas production, the Haynesville Shale alone could fuel our nation’s energy needs for decades to come.
In Northwest Louisiana, companies operating in the Haynesville Shale like Chesapeake Energy, EnCana Oil & Gas, and EXCO Resources have made significant moves towards CNG. Last summer, EXCO Resources constructed their CNG fueling facility at its Vernon Field site near Chatham, Louisiana. In like manner, EnCana has moved forward with a CNG fueling station in Red River Parish.
Recently in Shreveport, Steelweld Equipment, a manufacturer and installation company specializing in CNG kit conversion, announced they will partner with Rountree Ford dealership to sell and service CNG vehicles to interested fleet operators. Later this year, Shreveport will convert their municipal buses to clean burning natural gas. Bossier City also began construction of a new CNG fueling station set to be in service by August of this year.
In South Louisiana, LOGA has worked closely with the City of Lafayette and the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce to promote the benefits of CNG. Apache Corporation has committed to building a CNG station in the Lafayette area. It is their intention to build at least five more across the southwest region of the U.S.
On May 19, Apache employee Castlen Kennedy will travel from Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts in a natural gas vehicle. Apache’s “Austin to Boston CNG Tour” will provide insight into the fuel cost savings of natural gas and offer an in-depth view into the challenges of access to fueling options. On May 20, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and Apache Corporation will welcome Kennedy as she passes through our area. The Chamber notes, “The tour is to demonstrate the capabilities of vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas. The tour is a component of the Chamber’s drive to inform public and private entities of the benefits of converting fleet vehicles from gasoline and diesel fuel to CNG.” Officials from Apache and the Chamber, as well as fleet owners interested in converting will be in attendance.
With access to an abundance of natural gas, existing tax incentives, and the progression of CNG infrastructure projects within the state, it is my hope we will soon see the emergence of a thriving marketplace for compressed natural gas. Across the state of Louisiana, we are finding solutions to our energy needs and doing our part to bring our nation closer to energy independence. We believe CNG should play a significant role in our energy future. As a challenge to other states, “Won’t you join us?”
Matt Ross contributed to this article.