New investments in Europe

December 19, 2007

World production of steel has increased by more than 7% each year over the last few years, reaching 1.2 billion tonnes of raw steel in 2006. As a result of this trend, based on a demand which should continue to grow by more than 4% each year in the next few years, Air Liquide will increase and modernise its production capacities in Europe in order to satisfy customers’ needs.

In this context, Air Liquide has recently signed a 15 year contract with ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel company, for the renewal and extension of the supply of all of the oxygen, nitrogen, argon and compressed gas needs of its Dunkirk and Mardyck sites (France, Nord-Pas de Calais).

In response to the increasing demands of ArcelorMittal and the Dunkirk industrial basin, Air Liquide will therefore invest in a new air separation unit (ASU) with a production capacity of 1,100 tonnes of oxygen per day which will be integrated into its existing ASUs and its pipeline network. This new production unit will be put into use in the 4th quarter of 2009.

The new Air Liquide oxygen production unit will enable ArcelorMittal to increase its steel production capacity to more than 7.5 million tonnes per year and to improve performances of the Dunkirk site in terms of energy efficiency and economy.

In addition to this, in 2009 Air Liquide will also put a new ASU into operation on its existing site in Fos sur Mer (France, Bouches-du-Rhône) with an oxygen, nitrogen and argon production capacity of 1,100 tonnes per day to respond to the region’s growing industrial demands in air gases and to modernise its production equipment.

Finally, a new air gas production unit will also be put into operation at the end of 2009 on the Mons site (Belgium, Wallonia), replacing the existing unit. This new unit with a production capacity of 1,100 tonnes of oxygen per day will reduce electrical consumption by nearly 20% compared with the current consumption, thus contributing to Air Liquide’s sustainable development objectives.

These three new units will be designed and manufactured by the Engineering and Construction Department of the Air Liquide Group and represent a total investment of 130 million euros.

Guy Salzgeber, Vice-President European Operations and member of the Executive Committee, Air Liquide Group, commented: These new investments respond to the high demands of the clients, who include steelmakers, refiners and chemical companies. They are part of the policy of Air Liquide, which will invest around 2 billion euros each year between 2007 and 2011, to accelerate its growth and to respect its commitments in terms of sustainable development.

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