McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

May 21, 2014

CNG station to be built in Hennessey

ENID, Okla. — Construction of the state’s first non-interstate heavy-duty compressed natural gas station will begin soon in Hennessey, according to an OnCue Express official.

The station will become the fifth OnCue Express CNG station currently in some phase of construction in Oklahoma.

“We’re actually hoping to complete as many as 10, but at least seven stations in 2014,” OnCue Express CNG Market Development Manager Scott Minton said.

Minton said OnCue Express officials hope to complete the $1 million to $1.5 million Hennessey station before the end of the year.

“If everything goes well, as far as the site prep work, we hope to begin construction in probably late-June,” he said.

While there are no contractual agreements in place, Minton said OnCue Express officials have been working with several fleets, including Seaboard Foods.

“They’ve got a large operation at Hennessey and don’t have a place to fuel that’s convenient to them,” Minton said. “So, we told them we’d put a station there and we’re hoping they bring a lot of (trucks) to us.”

The station, to be located on 2.5 acres on the southwest corner of U.S. 81 and Conoco Road in Hennessey, will be a standalone, credit card-only facility.

“We know it will be a good site, but we are going to overbuild the site specifically for fleets like Seaboard, that we know will convert if they have a place to fill,” Minton said. “We’re going to build it to what we expect to need in the future, versus what we’ve done in the past.”

Many OnCue Express CNG stations, like the one in Enid, are built for pickups and are not optimized for semi-trailer trucks, he said.

“This station will be optimized for that big 18-wheeler and it will be a bigger station because of that,” Minton said. “We’re going to put more power into the compression that fills those fuel tanks, in order to make it fast for the big, big truck like that.”

Other stations under construction include one expected to open by July in Alva, two in Oklahoma City and one in Billings. OnCue officials also have plans to upgrade the Enid CNG station.

“We’ve got another few that are not being made public yet,” he said.

Construction began about eight weeks ago on the station in Alva, which is expected to cost about $1 million, Minton said. The station also will have high-flow CNG.

“It will also be a good station for heavy duty (semi-trailer trucks). It won’t be quite as big as the station we’re planning in Hennessey, but it will be a nice station for heavy-duty vehicles, as well as light-duty vehicles,” he said.

Minton’s duties at OnCue Express involve speaking with fleet officials about converting vehicles to CNG.

Conversion, which can be costly, has its benefits, including an average price statewide of about $1.79 a gallon for CNG, he said.

Minton said a fleet could save $2 a gallon on fuel, and the cost for conversion could be made up through the savings.

With CNG, vehicles get the same miles per gallon and the same power. The fuel also is cleaner and better for the environment than diesel, he said.

“It is a big investment upfront,” Minton said, referring to conversion.

The cost of converting a vehicle to CNG can cost up to $10,000 for a pickup and $40,000 to $60,000 for a semi.

“The math is pretty simple. If you drive enough miles, and let’s say you’re getting six miles per gallon on a big (truck) like Seaboard drives, if you’re driving 100,000 miles a year, you’re going to pay for that truck inside the first year, year and a half,” he said.

Minton said the state of Oklahoma does offer a 50 percent incentive toward converting vehicles.

OnCue Express has 14 CNG stations open in the state.

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