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.”
TravelCenters of America LLC, headquartered in Westlake, OH is the largest full service travel center business in the USA, with locations in 41 states and Canada operating under the “TravelCenters of America”, “TA” and “Petro Stopping Centers” brands. With 238 convenient locations off interstate highway exits, TA and Petro locations offer customers diesel and gasoline fueling services, full- and quick-service restaurants, 24-hour convenience stores, heavy truck maintenance services, RoadSquad™ (24/7/365 emergency roadside service), electronic communications (WiFi), and many other services all within large, high traffic facilities.WARNING REGARDING FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS THIS PRESS RELEASE CONTAINS STATEMENTS WHICH CONSTITUTE FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995 AND OTHER SECURITIES LAWS. ALSO, WHENEVER TA USES WORDS SUCH AS “BELIEVE”, “EXPECT”, “ANTICIPATE”, “INTEND”, “PLAN”, “ESTIMATE”, OR SIMILAR EXPRESSIONS, IT IS MAKING FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS. THESE FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS ARE BASED UPON TA’S CURRENT INTENT, BELIEFS OR EXPECTATIONS, BUT THEY ARE NOT GUARANTEED TO OCCUR AND MAY NOT OCCUR FOR VARIOUS REASONS, INCLUDING SOME REASONS BEYOND TA’S CONTROL. FOR EXAMPLE:
- THIS PRESS RELEASE DESCRIBES A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WHICH HAS BEEN ENTERED BETWEEN TA AND SHELL OIL PRODUCTS US. A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING IS NOT A BINDING AGREEMENT. NEITHER TA NOR SHELL IS BOUND TO PROCEED WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL GAS FUELING LANES AT TA LOCATIONS UNLESS AND UNTIL A BINDING AGREEMENT IS ENTERED. SEVERAL MATERIAL TERMS REMAIN TO BE NEGOTIATED AND HAVE NOT YET BEEN AGREED BETWEEN TA AND SHELL. SOME OF THE PRELIMINARY UNDERSTANDINGS BETWEEN TA AND SHELL DESCRIBED IN THIS PRESS RELEASE MAY BE CHANGED DURING FURTHER NEGOTIATIONS. AGREEMENT ON ALL MATERIAL TERMS MAY NOT BE ACHIEVED AND A BINDING AGREEMENT MAY NEVER BE ENTERED. FOR THESE REASONS, TA CAN PROVIDE NO ASSURANCE REGARDING THE FINAL TERMS OF ANY AGREEMENT BETWEEN TA AND SHELL OR THAT ANY SUCH AGREEMENT WILL BE ENTERED.
- THIS PRESS RELEASE STATES THAT TA AND SHELL WILL JOINTLY DEVELOP AT LEAST 200 NATURAL GAS FUELING LANES ON AT LEAST 100 TA LOCATIONS WITH THE INTENTION OF CREATING THE INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIRED TO ALLOW NATURAL GAS POWERED TRUCKS TO TRAVEL ACROSS THE UNITED STATES. LAND USE REGULATIONS AT THE LOCATIONS SELECTED BY TA AND SHELL MAY PREVENT INSTALLATION OF NATURAL GAS FUELING LANES. THE DISTANCES WHICH MAY BE COVERED BY NATURAL GAS POWERED VEHICLES DEPENDS UPON TECHNOLOGIES WHICH ARE CURRENTLY BEING DEVELOPED AND IT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE TO CROSS THE UNITED STATES STOPPING FOR FUEL AT ONLY 100 LOCATIONS. A TRUCKER MARKET FOR NATURAL GAS MAY NOT DEVELOP AND TA OR SHELL MAY ABANDON THIS PROJECT. FOR THESE REASONS, AMONG OTHERS, THE INFRASTRUCTURE NECESSARY FOR NATURAL GAS POWERED TRUCKS TO TRAVEL ACROSS THE UNITED STATES MAY REQUIRE MORE THAN AT LEAST 200 FUELING LANES ON AT LEAST 100 TA LOCATIONS OR MAY NOT BE CREATED.
- THIS PRESS RELEASE STATES THAT THE FIRST NATURAL GAS FUELING LANES ARE EXPECTED TO BE OPERATIONAL AT TA LOCATIONS DURING 2013. AS NOTED ABOVE, TA AND SHELL HAVE NOT YET REACHED FINAL AGREEMENT TO PROCEED WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL GAS FUELING LANES. THE INSTALLATION OF NATURAL GAS FUELING LANES MAY REQUIRE REGULATORY APPROVALS AND SPECIALIZED EQUIPMENT AND TRAINED PERSONNEL WHICH MAY NOT BE TIMELY AVAILABLE. ACCORDINGLY, THESE INSTALLATIONS MAY BE DELAYED BEYOND 2013 OR MAY NOT OCCUR.
- THIS PRESS RELEASE STATES THAT TA EXPECTS TO TRAIN AND EQUIP A SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF TECHNICIANS AND SERVICE FACILITIES TO SERVICE NATURAL GAS POWERED TRUCK ENGINES. THE TRAINING OF TECHNICIANS OR THE ACQUISITION OF SUCH EQUIPMENT MAY TAKE LONGER THAN OR COST MORE THAN TA NOW ANTICIPATES. A MARKET FOR SUCH SERVICES MAY NOT DEVELOP TO THE EXTENT TA NOW ANTICIPATES AND TA MAY ABANDON THESE EFFORTS. ACCORDINGLY, TA CAN PROVIDE NO ASSURANCE AS TO WHEN SUCH SERVICES WILL BE AVAILABLE AT TA LOCATIONS, IF AT ALL.
EXCEPT AS REQUIRED BY LAW, TA UNDERTAKES NO OBLIGATION TO UPDATE OR REVISE ANY FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS AS A RESULT OF NEW INFORMATION, FUTURE EVENTS OR OTHERWISE.