Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL) donated five buses to the Weld County RE-1 School District and two others to Greeley/Evans RE-6 School District. Houston-based Noble Energy, one of the largest oil and gas producers operating in Weld County, unveiled the buses Tuesday at Northridge High School.
“Noble Energy has a strong presence in this area and its employees are active in the community,” spokesman Jon Ekstrom said.
The buses, valued at $150,000 to $165,000 apiece, mark the first phase of Noble’s five-year bus donation project.
Noble Energy also is transitioning its own fleet of pickup trucks to run on compressed natural gas. The company expects to have 65 to 70 pickups running on the fuel by the end of the year.
The low-emission natural gas buses replace aging high-emission diesel buses, school and company officials said. Noble Energy also is buying a bus refueling station owned by Atmos Energy on County Road 42 in Gilcrest that the school districts and public can use.
“Weld County has been a leader in the state when it comes to utilizing natural gas as a transportation fuel, and we are proud to support that initiative,” Ekstrom said.
The Greeley/Evans school district will save some money by using less expensive natural gas, though it’s not clear how much, district spokeswoman Theresa Myers said.
“Environmentally, it’s a sound thing to do,” she said. “The emissions are way less on these (compressed-natural gas) buses than others.”
Noble Energy gave the school district, which has endured years of budget cuts, a $326,000 grant to buy the buses. “They’re the first new buses we’ve had in a very long time,” Myers said.