A new long-term contract between Air Liquide and major steel industry player, PAO Severstal, has been signed. The contract will see Air Liquide invest around €60m into constructing a state-of-the-art Air Separation Unit (ASU) on the Severstal CherMK site in Russia.

Air Liquide will guarantee a supply of oxygen to the CherMK site and the ASU will become the site’s fourth Air Liquide-owned ASU.

The new ASU features improved energy efficiency and will produce 1,000 tons of oxygen per day.

Francois Jackow, Executive Vice President and a member of the Air Liquide Group’s Executive Committee supervising Europe Industries activities, said of the partnership, “This new contract will further strengthen our long-term partnership with Severstal, which we have been regularly building since 2005.”

“As part of its objective to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, Air Liquide is committed to address the urgency of climate change and to act for a sustainable future.”

The unit will be owned and operated by a joint venture, Air Liquide Severstal, established in 2005 between Air Liquide (75%) and Severstal (25%).

With a focus on energy efficiency and minimising their impact upon the environment, Alexander Shevelev, CEO of Severstal Management, said, “Severstal pays great attention to reducing its environmental impact, and we are committed to achieving the gradual decarbonisation of our production processes.”

In line with the partnership’s implementation of environmental and climate strategies, the two companies have committed to further reduce the CO2 emissions arising from the increased oxygen production.

Shevelev continued, “We have set ourselves the near-term target of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 3% by 2023 compared to 2020 levels, and we fully intend to set new and ambitious goals.”

Planned to be started up by the end of 2023, with the addition of the new ASU, the site will be capable of producing over 8,000 tonnes of oxygen per day. The total production capacity will make it one of the largest sites of its kind in Europe.