Orange County Business Journal

More Deals for Clean Energy

Chris Casacchia Friday, June 29, 2012

Shares of Clean Energy Fuels Corp. rose Friday after the Seal Beach-based company announced deals to provide natural gas to five major fleet operators.

Investors sent Clean Energy shares up nearly 4% in afternoon trading to a market value of $1.35 billion.

The company said Lakeland Fla.-based Saddle Creek Logistics Services, Premier Transportation in Atlanta, Hoopes Turf Farm of Ulysses, Pa, Needham, Mass-based Lily Transportation Corp., and Lancaster Foods in Jessup, Md. will use Clean Energy’s existing and planned stations for natural gas fueling.

Clean Energy is the largest builder and operator of natural gas stations in the U.S. with sales of nearly $293 million in 2011.

It has yet to clear earnings hurdles amid a push to build and expand what Clean Energy is calling “America’s Natural Gas Highway.”

Major transportation arteries in California, Texas and the Midwest are expected to have natural gas stations spread out every 250 miles or so when the multiyear project concludes.

It is targeting the largest segment of the market: heavy-duty haulers that consume some $30 billion of fuel annually. That dwarfs the public sector and waste management industries combined.

Last month it completed the first corridor of its nationwide network. The plan called for 30 stations between Dallas and Houston, followed by an expansion west to Los Angeles and east to Atlanta in the third quarter.

Construction of a Chicago network linking Dallas and Atlanta also will begin in the third quarter.

About 70 stations will be constructed by the end of the year, Chief Executive Andrew Littlefair said.

Next year Clean Energy will add 150 stations in 33 states.

Oilman and corporate investor T. Boone Pickens started Clean Energy as a tiny part of his Dallas-based Mesa Petroleum in the late 1980s. He split it off in the late 1990s.