The Heck With OPEC

Freedom from foreign oil might be coming to fruition, and at the forefront is Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) .  

The fuel of no choice
Overshadowed by the budget bickering in Washington, Chesapeake recently released a bold energy independence plan. The plan calls for a $1 billion investment in order to stimulate demand for natural gas as a transportation fuel.

That's right, the same natural gas that heats your home can fuel your car with a few minor modifications. And the best part is natural gas is a cheap alternative to gasoline and it's domestically produced. 

However, natural gas hasn't caught on because of the lack of natural gas fueling stations. Chesapeake's plan addresses this problem. The company is loaning Clean Energy Fuels (Nasdaq: CLNE  ) the funds necessary to construct 150 natural gas fueling stations along interstate highways.

Chesapeake will finance the deal by redirecting 1%-2% of its forecast annual drilling budget. This is a smart move considering drilling for natural gas is becoming less economical because of the current supply glut.

I wouldn't be surprised to see other major natural gas explorers follow Chesapeake's lead. Encana (NYSE: ECA  ) is one company with the financial resources to do so.  

Chesapeake's investment in natural gas infrastructure may seem like a drop in the bucket, but the goal is to get the ball rolling and ultimately create a "demand revolution" for natural gas.  

And guess who benefits from the demand revolution. Chesapeake, for one. And any other company drilling for natural gas.  

What other companies benefit from the shift to natural gas? Westport Innovations (Nasdaq: WPRT  ) and Fuel Systems Solutions (Nasdaq: FSYS  ) . Both companies provide natural gas vehicle conversion equipment.

Not another tailpipe dream
Natural gas is the no-brainer solution for energy independence. And Chesapeake's major investment in natural gas fueling infrastructure could facilitate the switch from OPEC oil to American natural gas.    

Fool contributor Adam J. Crawford owns shares of Fuel Systems Solutions but does not own shares of any other company mentioned in this article. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Westport Innovations and Chesapeake Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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