Tourmaline Oil has signed a joint development deal worth $70m with Clean Energy Fuels to build and run a network of compressed natural gas (CNG) stations across western Canada.

The companies plan to construct and commission up to 20 CNG stations over the following five years.

Although both businesses will invest equally in the initiative, Clean Energy will run the stations.

Clean Energy president and CEO Andrew Littlefair said: “This new partnership with Tourmaline will provide Canada’s trucking industry with an economical, convenient and sustainable pathway to net zero and will contribute to Canada’s overarching climate change goal.”

The planned 20 CNG stations could fuel up to 3,000 natural gas-powered trucks per day, which could result in a reduction of nearly 72,800 tonnes of CO₂ equivalent usage annually, the companies said.

Tourmaline chairman, president and CEO Michael Rose said: “Tourmaline is Canada’s largest natural gas producer, and innovation is at the heart of everything we do. So this partnership with Clean Energy is a natural fit.”

The partners noted that they plan to increase the capacity of these stations and add new stations as demand for CNG fuel increases.

The first station built as part of the plan is already open and is situated north of Edmonton. 

The next stations will be built in municipalities of Calgary and Grande Prairie in Alberta and Kamloops, British Columbia, and will be operational in the first half of 2024.

The initiative has been endorsed by logistics company Mullen Group, which plans to refuel its fleet of CNG-powered vehicles via the network of stations.

Mullen Group chair, CEO and president Murray Mullen said: “We are excited to support this initiative. We have already made a significant investment in CNG trucks and are extremely confident that this technology will play a huge role in the decarbonisation of our industry.”