ELK CITY, OK --- Oklahoma House Speaker Chris Benge (R-Tulsa) and Apache Corp. CEO G. Steven Farris on Aug. 17 highlighted Oklahoma's incentives for natural gas in transportation.

Benge filled his Chevrolet Impala fueled with compressed natural gas (CNG) at Apache's CNG refueling station at the company's district office in Elk City. The station -- Apache's first -- has capacity to refuel 100 vehicles per day. Initially, it will be used to fuel more than 40 Apache field vehicles that are being equipped to run on CNG. 

"When we put tax incentives in place earlier this year to encourage natural gas usage as a transportation fuel in our state, this type of project is exactly what we had in mind," Benge said.

Apache Corp. is an oil and gas company with operations in the United States, Canada, Egypt, the United Kingdom North Sea, Australia and Argentina. 

Farris said Apache built its first refueling station in Oklahoma because the state's incentives improved the economic return for the project. Apache, which is fueling its CNG field vehicles with gas produced from the company's wells in western Oklahoma, is planning to build two additional CNG refueling stations in the state. 

Apache also is exploring ways to coordinate its CNG refueling program with state agencies, local governments and other CNG fleet operators, Farris said. 

"The biggest obstacle to expanding the use of CNG right now is the lack of refueling infrastructure; that's why we built our own station," Farris said. "The private sector could build adequate infrastructure to fuel many of the nation's public and private vehicle fleets, but policy makers in Washington and other states need to follow Oklahoma's lead and consider appropriate incentives to accelerate development. We appreciate Speaker Benge's leadership in expanding and extending the incentives.

"Using domestic natural gas makes sense because it creates jobs in this country, reduces greenhouse-gas emissions, and reduces our dependence on imported oil," Farris added.