Trucks from Irving Oil and Heritage Gas will start delivering compressed natural gas to factories and universities throughout the Maritimes without close access to pipeline infrastructure later this year.
The nearest pipeline to Acadia University is more than 100 kilometres away. So for now, its boiler room runs on bunker C oil at a cost of more than $2 million per year.
Marcel Falkenham, the school's facilities manager, said bringing in natural gas could save the university up to 30 per cent on its heating bill.
"It's not available. There's no pipeline down to the Valley region, unfortunately," he said. "Trucking compressed natural gas opens that door for us."
Each truck costs about $400,000 and follows the same safety guidelines as delivering propane.
Darren Gillis, general manager at Irving Energy, said customers are demanding compressed natural gas because it's cheaper and cleaner burning.
"We're able to start making deliveries in Nova Scotia in April because our first facility is going to be open in New Brunswick to serve McCain foods."
Both Irving Oil and its competitor Heritage Gas are building compression facilities next to the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline site at the Halifax International Stanfield Airport.
Heritage primarily distributes gas through a pipeline, but president Jim Bracken said this is another opportunity.
"Using CNG trucks, which we refer to as pipeline on wheels, is just another tool in our kit to be able to get gas to more Nova Scotians"
Bracken said the company will still continue to build pipelines.
The supply will come from offshore rigs near Nova Scotia and New England. Both companies said they won't have any long-term supply issues once Deep Panuke starts producing gas sometime in 2013.