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Ohio Utica Shale

Ford Motor Co. to offer natural gas-powered F-150 pickups

By Bob Downing Published: July 31, 2013

From Bloomberg News:

By Craig Trudell

Jul 31, 2013 10:14 AM ET



Ford Motor Co. (F), the second-largest U.S. automaker, plans to begin offering compressed natural gas fuel systems for its F-150 pickups to meet growing demand from business fleets and attract retail buyers.

Fuel packages similar to what Ford has offered on large commercial vehicles since 2009 will be available starting this year with the 2014 F-150, said Kevin Koswick, head of its fleet operations. The F-150 will be the only half-ton pickup capable of running on compressed natural gas, or CNG, the company said in a statement.

Ford is seeking to further bolster its F-Series pickups, which have been the top-selling trucks in the U.S. for the past 36 years. Natural gas prices have fallen as U.S. production surged with horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Ford said the average U.S. price for CNG is equal to $2.11 a gallon, compared to $3.66 for regular gasoline.

The F-150 is “probably our No. 1 request out there right now, with people asking us” for a CNG system, Koswick said yesterday in a briefing near Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn,Michigan. The F-150 will be the eighth commercial vehicle that Ford will sell that can run on CNG.

Ford said it expects to sell more than 15,000 such vehicles this year, up at least 29 percent from 11,623 in 2012. The automaker started offering CNG-enabled commercial vehicles with its E-Series vans and has since added Super Duty large pickups, Transit Connect taxis and chassis-cab trucks that are used for mail delivery.

Retail Market

By adding the light-duty F-150 truck to the mix, Ford may begin drawing more retail buyers for CNG vehicles, Koswick said.

“You’re really starting to straddle into the retail marketplace,” Koswick said. “There is demand.”

Buyers who choose the CNG-enabled 2014 F-150 will pay $315 for modifications at Ford’s factory with hardened valves, pistons and rings that are capable of working with CNG.

Those customers would then complete the upgrades by selecting from among six Ford-approved companies, includingWestport Innovations Inc. (WPT), to supply fuel tanks, lines and injectors. The cost for the work by those companies ranges from about $7,500 to $9,500 depending on the size of the tank, the automaker said.

Using CNG also can result in as much as 30 percent less emissions of greenhouse gases, Ford said, citing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency figures.

Corporate Customers

Customers for Ford’s CNG vehicles have included telecommunications carriers such as AT&T Inc. (T), delivery services such as FedEx Corp. (FDX) and United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), and oil and gas exploration companies such as Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD)

States and municipalities in places such as Oklahoma, where natural gas production has surged, are purchasing the vehicles and offering tax credits as incentives for their use and for building infrastructure. In addition, operators of taxis and shuttles at airports in Phoenix and Denver also are buying CNG-powered cars and trucks.

The advances in techniques for natural gas output are allowing the U.S. to vie with Russia as the world’s largest producer, according to the International Energy Agency. The increased supply has driven down prices for the fuel.

“When they really developed horizontal drilling and the fracking process that they have right now, that changed and separated the cost of natural gas from gasoline,” Robert Stevens, Ford’s chief engineer for commercial trucks, told reporters yesterday. “That was the watershed event.”

F-150 Sales

Rising energy production along with a sustained housing recovery are fueling pickup sales this year and pacing gains for U.S. automakers. Ford, General Motors Co. (GM) and Chrysler Group LLC each increased market share in 2013’s first half, the first time all three gained in the initial six months of a year since 1993.

Ford has reported that U.S. sales of its F-Series pickups climbed 22 percent to 367,486 this year through June.

The company’s shares rose 0.5 percent to $17.07 at 10:10 a.m. New York time. Ford surged 32 percent this year through yesterday, compared with an 18 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.



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Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.