The recent natural gas boom in the United States is now gaining momentum. Blu Transfuels, a partnership between Chinese clean-energy company ENN Energy Holdings Ltd (HKG:2688) (OTCMKTS:XNGSY) and Salt Lake City-based CH4 Energy Inc (OTCMKTS:CFRE) plans to build 50 new natural gas stations across the nation, reports CNNMoney.
ENN Energy Holdings Ltd (HKG:2688) (OTCMKTS:XNGSY), which has extensive experience in the LNG business, already runs 238 natural gas stations in China. Blu Transfuels said it would convert natural gas into a liquified form that will be used by over 8 million trucks nationwide, which account for about 15 percent of the nation's total oil consumption.
It's not just ENN Energy Holdings Ltd (HKG:2688) (OTCMKTS:XNGSY) establishing a network of natural gas stations across the U.S. highways. Another company, Clean Energy Fuels Corp (NASDAQ:CLNE) plans to open 150 new natural gas stations in 33 states by the end of 2013. Clean Energy Fuels has the backing of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) and T. Boone Pickens. Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) (NYSE:RDS.B) is also planning to expand aggressively in this space. LNG is cleaner as it reduces the carbon footprint by about 25 percent. Moreover, natural gas is cost effective as truckers can save $2 per gallon by switching to natural gas from diesel.
Growing Chinese Influence In U.S. Natural Gas Boom
Led by Chinese billionaire Wang Yusuo, ENN Energy Holdings Ltd (HKG:2688) (OTCMKTS:XNGSY) is yet another Chinese company willing to grab a piece of the U.S. natural gas boom. Last month, Sinopec Group announced to buy some of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK)'s Mississipi Lime shale properties for $1 billion. ENN started looking for an opportunity to work in the United States two years ago. It had first approached Clean Energy Fuels Corp (NASDAQ:CLNE) to build a partnership, but the attempt couldn't bear fruit, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Then it contacted CH4 Energy Inc (OTCMKTS:CFRE) which had just one LNG fueling station in Salt Lake City. They formed a new company Blu Transfuels LLC. A large part of the joint venture is controlled by the Chinese company.
The natural gas boom will reduce the dependence of U.S. transport industry on diesel extracted from imported crude oil. Almost half of the U.S. garbage trucks run on natural gas as they can refuel at their home base. But the long-distance truckers haven't relied on natural gas because they need to make sure that they can refuel along the highways.