Three members of the former Chesapeake Energy Corp. compressed natural gas vehicle team have set up their own shop, continuing much of the work they started with their former employer.
Oklahoma City-based Sparq Natural Gas hopes to promote the use of CNG as a vehicle fuel by partnering with existing convenience stores and by acting as a consultant to companies considering entering or expanding into the CNG business.
“What we want to do is bring the Oklahoma leadership story that happened here across states like Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico and Colorado — states that do not have as much infrastructure that we’re fortunate enough to have in Oklahoma,” CEO Norman Herrera said.
Sparq consists of Herrera, Chief Financial Officer Tristan Adler and Chief Operating Officer Sufyan Qarni. The trio is backed by private investors, whom they declined to name.
With 78 public CNG fueling stations, Oklahoma contains almost 12 percent of the 677 such stations nationwide and is second only to California in the number of public stations. The country is dotted with more than 120,000 gasoline stations.
Oklahoma has so many public stations largely because of Chesapeake’s effort to convert its truck fleet to CNG and because the company encouraged local retailers to offer the fuel in its operations areas. Gov. Mary Fallin also has encouraged state and county fleets to convert to natural gas.
Sparq is continuing the effort, but instead of focusing primarily on corporate and government fleets, the new firm is targeting individuals and families.
“We think this fuel is not just for fleets. It’s a public fuel families can use. It’s a fuel used in the world by millions of people,” Qarni said.