PORTLAND

Boston-based Xpress Natural Gas has landed a contract to truck compressed natural gas to FMC BioPolymer in Rockland, where the major regional employer is preparing to change its primary fuel source this fall to save on energy costs and reduce emissions.

FMC, a multinational company in Rockland that processes seaweed into carrageenan, is an anchor customer for the natural gas distributor that bills itself as a stepping stone and alternative to piped gas for industrial and commercial customers.

“ That’s our first large commercial customer in that area,” Matt Smith, vice president for XNG, said. “It goes without saying that it’s the largest single energy account in that portion of the coast.”

The company delivers its gas out of distribution hubs in Eliot and Baileyville.

Smith said Rockland is a good market for the company because of the geological difficulties of installing natural gas pipelines.

“They call it Rockland for a reason — it’s all granite. And laying pipe in granite is a challenge for any company,” Smith said, noting his firm doesn’t necessarily see pipelines as competition. “ There’s just enormous opportunity to bring gas into towns that realistically aren’t candidates for traditional pipelines but are perfect opportunities for gas by truck.”

XNG has grown its Maine footprint in the last year, expanding capacity at its Baileyville hub and building a new hub in Eliot, served by a separate major pipeline bringing gas north. Irving Oil also has entered the trucked compressed natural gas market in Maine, delivering its first truck of compressed natural gas to the McCain Foods processing plant in Easton in May 2013.

FMC spokeswoman Barbara Del Duke declined to detail what impact the conversion will have on the plant’s total energy costs but said in an email that the company determined compressed natural gas was the best near-term change to cut its fuel costs and reduce greenhouse gases by about one-third.

Smith said the change would amount to a 40 percent reduction from FMC’s previous bill for No. 6 oil.

Del Duke said the conversion also will bring the company, which is the city’s largest taxpayer, into compliance four years early, with new state-mandated reductions in sulfur emissions. She said the company is building the infrastructure to decompress the trucked natural gas as early as this fall and will modify its existing boilers to use the gas and convert its liquid fuel systems from using No. 6 fuel to No. 2 fuel.

That, Del Duke said, will further reduce the facility’s emissions and eliminate a need to heat the oil during periods of extreme cold.

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