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Pembroke filling station to deliver natural gas to Claremont paper mill

A Claremont-based paper manufacturer will be among the first companies to receive natural gas from a Pembroke fueling station opening early next year.

APC Paper Co. announced yesterday it will convert its process and climate-heating systems from fuel oil to compressed natural gas from the station operated by NG Advantage.

APC Paper is also the first company from New Hampshire to contract with the Vermont-based NG Advantage, which operates throughout New England and eastern New York. Until the Pembroke station opens in 2014, that natural gas will be delivered to the APC Paper mill from a fueling station in Milton, Vt.

APC Paper manufactures 100 percent recycled paper from used corrugated cartons and newspapers, and its mill operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Frank Tarantino, president of the APC Paper Group, said the switch to natural gas will both reduce air emissions at the mill and significantly reduce its energy costs.

“We compete with other paper mills around the country that use gas as their fuel source, where we use No. 6 fuel oil,” Tarantino said. “And No. 6 fuel oil has become very expensive, so we have a tremendous competitive disadvantage.”

Tom Evslin, chairman and CEO of NG Advantage, said APC Paper will be replacing about 1.5 million gallons of fuel oil with natural gas.

That could save the paper company about 30 percent on its fuel bills, Evslin said.

“They get a very substantial cash savings that makes them more competitive in a competitive industry,” Evslin said.

Tractor-trailers will fill up at the Pembroke station off Route 3 and then transport that natural gas to the mill in Claremont. The filling station will be open to truck drivers 24 hours a day.

“As trailers empty, we replace them,” Evslin said.

The six-bay filling station will be operated by NG Advantage, but it is owned by Clean Energy Fuels Corp. of Newport Beach, Calif. Drew Drummond, business development manager for Clean Energy in New England, said construction on the station is under way.

The station is on track to open in early 2014, Drummond said.

Along with APC Paper, Evslin said NG Advantage could announce more partnerships with companies in the state soon.

“There are enough businesses and schools and hospitals (in New Hampshire) that are beyond the reach of pipelines that very much want to get their energy cost down and reduce their environmental footprint,” Evslin said. “The reason for having a station in Pembroke, of course, is because we do believe New Hampshire’s a good market.”

The Pembroke station could also supply natural gas to NG Advantage clients in Massachusetts and Vermont, though Evslin said he could not yet say which clients those were.

“We look forward to serving a lot more businesses and institutions in New Hampshire,” Evslin said.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

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