* Natgas demand in trucks may reach 14 bcfd by 2030
* Cheap natgas could displace diesel
* Hurdles remain, could reduce demand growth
NEW YORK, Sept 4 The use of natural gas in U.S.
trucks and fleet vehicles could skyrocket over the next two
decades as low prices and new infrastructure provide incentive
to switch to the cheap fuel, according to a research report
released on Tuesday.
Record increases in U.S. natural gas production, thanks to
prolific shale deposits, have pushed prices to 10-year lows this
year, and they are likely to remain depressed, making it an
attractive alternative to more expensive diesel for the
foreseeable future, PIRA Energy Group said in its report.
"Future gas demand in natural gas vehicles has enormous
upside potential, led by private sector initiatives, with or
without federal government assistance," PIRA, an energy
consulting firm, said in a statement.
Gas demand in large trucks and fleet vehicles could reach 14
billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) by 2030 - about 20 percent of
today's daily gas production - a huge increase from the 90
million cubic feet per day consumed in 2011, according to the
report's high case scenario. In its lower scenario, total demand
would hit 7 bcfd.
The increase from the higher case scenario could reduce
diesel demand by 2.4 million barrels per day, about two thirds
of today's heavy trucking market.
Trucks running on liquefied natural gas would make up 70
percent of the 14 bcfd, PIRA said, with fleet vehicles consuming
compressed natural gas making up the rest.
The move toward more natural gas in truck engines has
already begun, with more fuelling stations appearing across the
country and engine makers offering more affordable alternatives
to the diesel and gasoline engine.
"The past year has witnessed a striking advance of private
initiatives across the stakeholder spectrum -- from major
vehicle producers, to fueling infrastructure firms, to fleet
operators," PIRA said. "A high degree of natural gas vehicle
visibility and share of new orders in the public transit and
refuse market are standout examples of compressed natural gas
vehicle growth taking root."
However, there are potential downsides to increase natural
gas in engines, including technological uncertainties and
infrastructure hurdles, which could reduce demand increases to
2030, the report said.