Air Liquide in Saudi deal

Air Liquide, a supplier of industrial gases and services to major industries, has announced the start-up of its global-scale hydrogen production site in Yanbu on the West coast of the Saudi Arabia.

Announced in 2010, this investment of more than €350 million ($394 million) represents both the largest industrial investment and largest “over the fence”1 hydrogen contract of the Group, said a statement from the company.

As per a long-term agreement, Air Liquide Arabia will be supplying hydrogen to the new Yasref refinery (a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Sinopec) located in Yanbu, one of the main industrial areas of the country and a high growth area for refining and petrochemicals.

Yasref is the largest refinery in the region and will process 400,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day. Hydrogen will allow the reduction of the sulfur content of the produced fuels, and meet the environmental standards for cleaner transportation fuels.

With two global-scale hydrogen production units and one purification unit, the Air Liquide site has a total hydrogen capacity of 340,000 Nm3/hour. The production will ramp up, according to the needs of Yasref, during the course of 2015.

The units were designed and built by Air Liquide Engineering & Construction teams using proprietary technology.

Construction of the complex is characterized by an excellent safety record with over 6.2 million hours worked with zero lost time accidents. Its start-up illustrates Air Liquide’s capacity to execute very large projects on time and on budget.

This new project also demonstrates Air Liquide’s capacity to deliver reliable, energy efficient and competitive industrial gas supply solutions that enable its customers to concentrate on their core business.

The presence of significant industries such as refining or petrochemical in the industrial basin of Yanbu will allow Air Liquide to further develop and optimize the hydrogen supply to its customers in this region.

With the start-up of these new units, the Group’s hydrogen production capacity increases by close to 20 per cent.

Pierre Dufour, the senior executive and vice president of the Air Liquide Group, said this project reinforces its strategic presence in the Middle East, where the company continues to develop its industrial gas infrastructure.

“The decision by such a large refinery to outsource its hydrogen production is a first in the Middle East, and representative of a growing trend in the region. Thanks to its technologies and operational know-how, Air Liquide offers its customers high value-added solutions that contribute to their competitiveness in the long run,” he added.

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