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Total to buy 25% stake in natural gas transportation company Clean Energy Fuels

Total SA plans to buy a 25% stake in natural gas transportation company Clean Energy Fuels Corp. for $83.4 million and then team up with the company for a leasing program that could add thousands of heavy-duty natural gas fueled trucks to the roads.

Total agreed to buy 50.8 million shares of Clean Energy Fuels stock, subject to shareholder approval, which would make the oil and gas major the largest Clean Energy Fuels shareholder.

The two companies also entered into a strategic agreement to drive the deployment of natural gas heavy-duty trucks, according to a May 10 news release. Total intends to provide up to $100 million of credit support for Clean Energy's leasing program, which the companies hope to launch in the third quarter. As contemplated, the leasing plan would offer natural gas fueled heavy-duty trucks at no increased costs to diesel counterparts, and would offer guaranteed discounted fuel costs, according to the release.

"Customers and regulators around the world are demanding cleaner transportation alternatives, particularly in the heavy-duty market," Total Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said. "Natural gas can become the fuel of choice."