TravelCenters of America LLC (NYSE Amex: TA) today announced that it has entered a memorandum of understanding with Shell Oil Products US and its affiliates to construct and operate a network of natural gas fueling lanes at TA locations along the U.S. Interstate Highway System.
The memorandum of understanding contemplates that Shell will construct and TA will operate at least 200 natural gas fueling lanes on at least 100 TA locations. Additional TA locations may be added depending upon customer demand. The locations will be jointly selected by TA and Shell with the intention of creating the infrastructure required to allow natural gas powered trucks to travel across the United States.
TA today operates a nationwide network of 238 travel centers, almost all of which are located at Interstate Highway System exits. TA’s locations operate under the brand names “TravelCenters of America”, “TA” and “Petro Stopping Centers”. A typical TA location has over 20 acres for truck and motorist parking, a large convenience store, sit down and quick serve restaurants and a large, multi-bay truck repair and maintenance facility. In order to facilitate the introduction of natural gas powered vehicles to the interstate trucking industry, TA expects to a train and equip a sufficient number of TA’s 3,000 repair technicians, 1,000 truck service bays and 400 Road Squad® emergency roadside repair vehicles to service natural gas powered truck engines.
Details of the agreement between TA and Shell are expected to be completed during an exclusive negotiating period, and the first natural gas fueling lanes for trucks traveling along the U.S. Interstate Highway System are expected to be operational at TA locations during 2013.Commenting upon today’s announcement, Thomas M. O’Brien, Managing Director, President and CEO of TA, made the following statement: “TA is pleased to be partnering with Shell, one of the largest energy companies in the world, to create the infrastructure necessary to offer TA’s trucking company customers an alternative fuel choice. TA is especially pleased to be helping ensure America’s energy independence.”