Total SA and Clean Energy Fuels Corp. have entered into a broad strategic agreement to drive deployment of new natural gas, heavy-duty trucks. Total has agreed to purchase up to 50.8 million shares of Clean Energy’s common stock for $83.4 million, making it Clean Energy’s largest stockholder with ownership of 25 percent of Clean Energy’s outstanding shares of common stock. This transaction is subject to, among other things, Clean Energy obtaining the approval at its stockholders’ meeting, which was originally scheduled for May 30 but has been postponed to June 8.
Clean Energy, with support from Total, also plans to launch an innovative leasing program that is intended to place thousands of new natural gas, heavy-duty trucks on the road and fueling at Clean Energy stations. As presently contemplated, this program will allow fleets to begin driving heavy-duty trucks with the cleanest engine in the world at no increased cost compared to the diesel alternative, while also guaranteeing a discounted natural gas fuel price to diesel. Total intends to provide up to $100 million of credit support for the program, which the companies expect to launch in the third quarter of 2018.
“Customers and regulators around the world are demanding cleaner transportation alternatives, particularly in the heavy-duty market,” said Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of Total, in a statement. “Natural gas can become the fuel of choice. Total believes there is a strong development opportunity in the natural gas for transportation market, in particular in the United States, which benefits from unique giant, low-cost gas resources. Total is looking forward to partnering with Clean Energy to accelerate the remarkable innovation capacities of this company.”
Promoting the use of natural gas and increasing its share in Total’s overall output are part of Total’s integrated strategy to expand its low carbon businesses. Total has vast experience with natural gas, with operations on five continents, making Total one of the world’s largest leaders along the natural gas value chain, including with liquefied natural gas positions in the U.S.
“There couldn’t be a better endorsement for the future of natural gas, heavy-duty trucking in North America than for Total, one of the largest energy companies in the world, to step up with this investment,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, CEO and president of Clean Energy, in a statement. “Being a European-based company, Total is all too aware of the opportunity to transition to cleaner alternative fuels. Launching the financing program should expedite the adoption of natural gas as the most environmentally friendly fuel for the trucking industry.”