Air Liquide achieves new successes in hydrogen


Air Liquide has recently scored a number of major successes in its sales of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Use of these two gases is developing very strongly, both in chemicals and refining. The new contracts mark a new milestone in our business growth in China and Korea and consolidate the Group's position in Europe.

In China, the Group has been present for over 10 years, and now has more than 800 employees there. Our strategy has been to focus our development on geographical areas with strong potential (Shanghai, Guangdong, Beijing and Tianjin). We already have a significant presence in electronics, liquid gases and engineering. Air Liquide's human and technological resources and its plants are now on a similar scale to those at its disposal elsewhere in major developing markets.

Our subsidiary, Shanghai Chemical Industry Park Industrial Gases Company (SCIPIG), a 50/50 joint venture with Praxair, has won new contracts for the pipeline supply of large volumes of hydrogen and carbon monoxide to two major international petrochemical groups based in the Shanghai region. The contracts are scheduled to commence in the first half of 2006. To date, total investment in SCIPIG amounts to USD 120 million, making it a key player in the rapidly expanding Shanghai area.

In Korea, Air Liquide has just brought a new unit into service, quadrupling its existing production capacity. The location is the Yosu Basin, a major site for this country's petrochemical industry. This takes the company's total investment to 100 million euros since 1996. The commissioning of this unit reflects the competitiveness of Air Liquide's technological solutions. The plant will serve several major industrial customers and strengthen the Group's presence in Korea, where it has been directly established since 1996, having previously worked in partnership with Daesung Sanso for many years.

In Europe, near Antwerp, the Group has just completed commissioning of its world's biggest hydrogen production unit. Brought into service in October 2003, it will supply the BASF chemical group under a contract signed in 2002. The plant boasts a capacity of 100 000 m3/hour and represents an investment of 80 million euros. It will also supply other Air Liquide customers via a hydrogen pipeline network. This network is already serving customers in the Antwerp Basin, in the Netherlands, especially the Port of Rotterdam, as well as customers in southern Belgium and northern France.

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