Air Liquide and Sasol, an international integrated energy and chemicals company, have signed a long-term agreement for the supply of large quantities of industrial gases to Sasol’s Secunda site (around 140km East of Johannesburg).

Air Liquide will invest around €200m for the construction of the largest Air Separation Unit (ASU) ever built, with total capacity of 5,000 tonnes of oxygen per day (equivalent to 5,800 tonnes per day at sea level), a milestone in the history of industrial gas production.

Air Liquide and Sasol have a long partnership history as the group has already provided several ASUs on this site over the last 40 years. This contract represents an important step forward in this partnership as it is the first time that Sasol will outsource its oxygen needs to a specialist of industrial gas production at its Secunda site. The oxygen provided by Air Liquide will be used by Sasol for the production of synthetic fuels.

Air Liquide will design, build, own and operate this new ASU, bringing Sasol its world class expertise in oxygen supply. The Air Liquide Engineering and Construction teams will bring their state-of-the-art technologies for this very large ASU, thereby providing benchmark efficiencies, reliability and safety while increasing production capacities.

The new ASU expected to be commissioned by December 2017 will also add for Air Liquide a new source of oxygen and argon to supply the growing industrial gas market in South Africa.

During a signing ceremony in Johannesburg, Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide commented, “Air Liquide is very pleased to strengthen its relationship with its longstanding business partner, Sasol, and to reaffirm its commitment to South Africa. The cutting edge technology which will be implemented on this project confirms our leadership in oxygen production technology, and we are extremely proud to announce the achievement of another major milestone in the history of the group.”

David E. Constable, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sasol Limited, added, “Air Liquide is a long-term technology partner of Sasol. The implementation and operation of this new large ASU by Air Liquide brings world-class expertise to our Secunda site and guarantees a long-term reliable and competitive source of oxygen. And as South Africa is the cornerstone of our global operations, the efficiency this project brings to Sasol will contribute to the South African economy and to the country as a whole.”