HOUSTON – Shell and its affiliates have signed a memorandum of understanding with TravelCenters of America LLC (TA) to sell liquefied natural gas (LNG) to heavy-duty road transport customers in the US through TA's existing nationwide network of full-service fueling centers.

Pending final agreements, the proposed plans include constructing more than 200 LNG fuel lanes at about 100 TA sites and Petro Stopping Centers throughout the US interstate highway system. If a final agreement is reached, the first of the LNG fuel lanes are expected to become operational in 2013.

TA fueling station

TA fueling station

Demand for alternative fuels, like LNG fuel, from heavy-duty road transport customers is growing due, in part, to the wide range of benefits for trucking fleet operators, according to the companies. These benefits can include lower fuel costs and improved local air quality from reduced emissions at the point of use, particularly nitrogen oxide as well as reduced noise levels.

The agreement with TA, the largest full-service truck stop chain in the US, represents the next phase for Shell in its plan to provide trucking fleet customers in North America with a robust fueling infrastructure, according to Shell. Last year, Shell announced it would sell LNG to its heavy-duty fleet customers at select Flying J truck stops in Alberta, Canada, beginning in 2012. The first LNG retail plaza in Calgary is expected to open this year. Both these announcements help demonstrate how Shell is moving forward in its strategy to develop a global downstream LNG fuel sales business for commercial customers in the truck sector but also other growth areas notably marine, mining and rail, according to the company.