Air Products has brought a new air separation plant on-stream in Tangshan, Hebei Province, China to supply gaseous oxygen via pipeline to Guo Feng Steel, a member of the Xinfeng Group and nearby Fufeng Steel.

In addition, the plant produces 300 tons per day of liquid products to support other customers in the Northern China area, further expanding Air Products' liquid product capacity economically to meet the growing liquid demand in the region.

Air Products has been supplying liquid oxygen to the Xinfeng Group since 1999. Xinfeng Group's decision in 2003 to expand its production capacity in Tangshan prompted Air Products' investment in the new plant.

Steel production in China is growing at close to 20% per annum, and Tangshan is one of the largest steel production centres in China, with annual production exceeding 30 million tons. Air Products has been supplying Tangshan since 1997 and is one of the leading gas suppliers to the steel industry in Northern China.

Wilbur Mok, president of Air Products China, said: 'I would like to thank the Tangshan City and Hebei Provincial government as well as Xinfeng Group for their strong support in bringing this new plant into operation.

'Air Products is honoured to play a prominent role in the growth of China's steel industry, which is a key major contributor to the country's economic development.

'We are committed to meeting China's industrial gas needs, and this plant is part of our investment strategy to build long-term infrastructure to expand our liquid product capacity economically.'