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A unit of Encana Corp. has opened a new compressed natural gas station at Strathmore in southern Alberta as the company converts more of its vehicles to use the cleaner-burning fuel.

The station – 40 kilometres east of Calgary – will help support the big natural gas producer's expanding fleet of gas powered vehicles.

"Encana is leading by example as we convert our own vehicle fleets to natural gas and help build the necessary infrastructure to support its expanded use as an alternative fuel to gasoline or diesel," Randy Eresman, Encana's president and chief executive, said Tuesday.

"Operating a fleet of vehicles on natural gas is both an economic and environmental advantage for our business, and we are inviting other business operators and consumers to join us in capturing the benefits of this clean, abundant and more affordable fuel."

The Strathmore CNG station will fuel Encana's 39 trucks converted to run on natural gas in the company's Clearwater business unit in the Strathmore area.

Overall Encana has 128 of its vehicles, as well as 15 drilling rigs, running on natural gas and continues to further expand its conversion program.

Beginning next year, Encana Natural Gas will sell its fuelling services to other company fleets in the area and to the public at a later date.

Hydrogen and natural gas are increasingly being used as fuel in taxis and bus fleets as well as trucks and other commercial vehicles.

As one of North America's largest natural gas producers, Encana is hoping to tap into a growing market for the fuel. Gas is now used mainly to heat homes in winter, run boilers and other water heating equipment and fuel power plants in Canada and the United States.

"We believe that natural gas as a transportation fuel has huge potential to improve the bottom line of its users," Mr. Eresman said.

"Our vast North American supply of natural gas truly represents a domestic energy solution and a way to further strengthen the economies of both Canada and the United States."