Big Oil Invests in Natural Gas Trucking


French oil and gas supermajor Total SA and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. have entered into a broad strategic agreement to drive the deployment of new natural gas-powered heavy-duty trucks.

Total has agreed to purchase up to 50.8 million shares of Clean Energy’s common stock for $83.4 million, becoming Clean Energy’s largest stockholder, with ownership of 25% of Clean Energy’s outstanding shares of common stock.

This transaction is subject to, among other things, Clean Energy’s obtaining approval at its stockholders’ meeting, which was originally scheduled for May 30 but is being postponed to June 8.

Clean Energy, with support from Total, plans to launch a leasing program that is intended to place thousands of new natural gas heavy-duty trucks on the road (which will fuel at Clean Energy stations). Total intends to provide up to $100 million of credit support for the program, which the companies expect to launch in the third quarter of this year.

“Customers and regulators around the world are demanding cleaner transportation alternatives, particularly in the heavy-duty market,” comments Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of Total. “Natural gas can become the fuel of choice. Total believes there is a strong development opportunity in the natural gas for transportation market – in particular, in the United States, which benefits from unique, giant, low-cost gas resources. Total is looking forward to partnering with Clean Energy to accelerate the remarkable innovation capacities of this company.”

Promoting the use of natural gas and increasing its share in Total’s overall output are part of the company’s integrated strategy to expand its low-carbon businesses.

“There couldn’t be a better endorsement for the future of natural gas heavy-duty trucking in North America than for Total, one of the largest energy companies in the world, to step up with this investment,” says Andrew J. Littlefair, CEO and president of Clean Energy.

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