Oil companies invest in CNG exploration


Tuesday, August 5th 2008, 11:16 pm
By: News 9


By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Energy experts and environmentalists have claimed compressed natural gas is the solution to the country's energy crisis, and an Oklahoma energy company announced they'll make an investment in CNG as well.

T. Boone Pickens chose to endorse natural gas as a possible solution.

"We have an abundance of natural gas," Pickens said. "It's cleaner, it's cheaper and it is domestic and it will replace foreign oil."

Devon Energy paid $2.2 billion two years ago for exploration into Barnett Shale, which is considered the largest gas supply in north Texas. The company plans to expand their exploration to Louisiana's Haynesville Shale.

"The demand is right now expect to rise much faster than the supply can rise," said Oklahoma City University Associate Business Professor Ron Shaw. "It looks good for an energy company to be involved."

Chesapeake Energy entered Haynesville and is pushing for the wide release of CNG-powered cars, but Shaw said he doesn't believe the transition would be quick.

"I just don't see in the foreseeable future, that it would become so commonplace that you could just pull off anywhere and just expect a station to have compressed natural gas," Shaw said.

In most of the United States, the infrastructure for CNG fueling stations doesn't exist. The mileage of cars running on CNG is less than that of cars running on gasoline and the cost to fill up cheaper.

"When you look at the price, you get more miles per dollar and maybe that might be a better way to look at it," Shaw said.

There are currently about 1,300 natural gas fueling stations in the U.S., with the majority of those being located in California.

Most of Devon Energy's exploration is in natural gas. The company is expected to announce 2nd quarter earnings Wednesday.