Shell has announced it plans to establish two new “corridors” in the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) for transport use by heavy-duty truck fleets as well as by industrial and marine operations customers. The global energy company noted these projects will utilize North American natural gas to provide an “innovative and cost-effective fuel” for its customers.

Shell already is working to supply LNG along a truck route in the Canadian province of Alberta starting with three sites. That project was launched in 2011. Pending final regulatory permitting, said the company, the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast LNG corridors are expected to begin operations and production in about three years.

“Natural gas is an abundant and cleaner-burning energy source in North America, and Shell is leveraging its LNG expertise and integrated strength to make LNG a viable fuel option for the commercial market,” said Marvin Odum, president, Shell Oil Co. “We are investing now in the infrastructure that will allow us to bring this innovative and cost-competitive fuel to our customers.”

For its Gulf Coast Corridor, Shell plans to install a small-scale liquefaction unit at its Shell Geismar Chemicals facility in Geismar, LA. Once operational, the unit will supply LNG along the Mississippi River, the Intra-Coastal Waterway and to the offshore Gulf of Mexico and the onshore oil and gas exploration areas of Texas and Louisiana. Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with TravelCenters of America, the facility is expected to supply LNG fuel to long-haul trucks at certain truck stops.

For its Great Lakes Corridor, Shell plans to install the same type of liquefaction unit at its Shell Sarnia Manufacturing Centre in Sarnia, ON. Once operational, this project will supply LNG fuel to all five Great Lakes, their bordering U.S. states and Canadian provinces, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. Via an MOU with TravelCenters of America, this facility is expected to supply LNG fuel to long-haul trucks at truckstops between Chicago, Detroit, and Louisville.

Each small-scale liquefaction unit is capable of producing 0.25-million tons per year. Each unit is is made up of moveable modules that are smaller than traditional LNG production facilities-- each is roughly the same size as a railroad boxcar, which Shell said allows for faster installation and manufacture.

Shell pointed out that is also working to use LNG as a fuel in its own operations or to support its operations: 

  • Offshore Support Services. Shell has chartered three dual-fuel offshore support vessels from Harvey Gulf International Marine utilizing Wärtsilä engine and LNG system technology.  These vessels will be used to support Shell’s operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
  • Onshore Production. Shell has also begun to transition many of its onshore drilling rigs and hydraulic-fracturing spreads to LNG. These conversions can reduce fuel costs and local emissions, the company noted.

Regarding heavy-duty trucks, Shell stated that “LNG has the potential to offer significant fuel cost savings compared to conventional diesel. It can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, from production to use, compared to conventional diesel and biodiesel in new engines.  Burning LNG in spark-ignited engines is quieter than burning diesel in combustion engines. LNG-fuelled trucks can operate for longer where noise restrictions apply, for example [when] delivering to supermarkets in residential areas.”

The company also said it intends to further work with TravelCenters of America “to provide LNG for truck fleets at truckstops across the U.S.A.”

Additional information on Shell pertaining to using natural gas for transport and the Gulf Coast and Great Lakes Corridors is available by clicking here.

Shell Oil Co., headquartered in Houston, is an affiliate of Netherlands-basedRoyal Dutch Shell plc, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies.