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Air Liquide to construct new ASU for steel producer in Russia

By Mary Page Bailey |

Air Liquide (Paris, France) and NLMK, a leading steel producer in Russia, have entered into a new long-term partnership. Under the agreement, Air Liquide will invest around 100 million euros in the flagship site of NLMK in Lipetsk, a combination of three projects which include the construction of a state-of-the-art Air Separation Unit (ASU), the acquisition of existing hydrogen unit for the steel plant and of the unit for Rare Gases production. This project also provides the base for growth of Air Liquide’s Industrial Merchant activity in one of the largest industrial Merchant markets in the Moscow region.

This project follows another project in which Air Liquide is partnering with a major steel producer – earlier this month, the company also announced an agreement with SDI in Texas.

Air Liquide will design, build, own, and operate a new Air Separation Unit providing the highest industry standards in safety, efficiency and reliability. The unit with a production capacity of 1,000 tons of oxygen per day will be built on the Lipetsk site to increase steel production of the flagship site of NLMK. The Lipetsk site is among the top five most competitive sites in the world for slabs and hot-rolled coil production. Based on the latest energy efficiency technologies, the new Air Liquide unit will be contributing to the increased cost competitiveness of the site. The start-up of the unit is expected in 2023. Under the partnership, Air Liquide will also take over in the coming months all the assets for the production of hydrogen and rare gases at the NLMK site.

This contract, finalized digitally in the midst of Covid crisis, highlights the ability of the two companies to move forward despite the environment. This long-term partnership with NLMK strengthens Air Liquide’s position in Russia and illustrates the company’s strategy development in major industrial sites. In addition, this project provides momentum for growth in one of the largest Industrial Merchant markets in the Moscow region representing 30% of the country and reliable sourcing of Rare Gases for Air Liquide customers worldwide.

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