Air Liquide has revealed details of two further investments in the South East Asian market, declaring an outlay of €45m in a facility in India and a further €30m investment in a new ASU in Malaysia.

The oil, gas and petrochemical sectors are fast growing markets in India and South East Asia, with Air Liquide clearly keen to make its presence felt in the rapidly expanding region.

India’s $70bn petrochemical market, poised to grow at over 10% per annum, is one of the fastest growing petrochemical markets in the world. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IndianOil) is building a world-scale Naphtha Cracker complex adjacent to its existing 12 mmpta (million metric tonnes per annum) refinery, at Panipat, near Delhi in North India.

Outsourcing oxygen needs
IndianOil has decided to outsource its oxygen and nitrogen gas requirements through a long-term contract with Air Liquide.

Under this agreement, Air Liquide will invest €45m in a new air separation unit (ASU) with capacity of 850 tpd of oxygen, also producing liquid oxygen, nitrogen and argon to meet the requirements of both IndianOil and the industrial merchant market in northern India.

The facility will be built by Air Liquide Engineering India and is scheduled to be commissioned by July 2009, the company notes.

Reaching refining requirements
Meanwhile in Malaysia, Air Liquide is also to invest €30m in a new ASU for Malaysian Refining Company Sdn. Bhd. (MRC), a joint-venture company owned by Petronas and ConocoPhillips.

Petronas is one of the most profitable integrated oil and gas companies in the region and has been regarded as the catalyst for Malaysia’s industrial development.

Air Liquide’s ASU will also produce liquid oxygen, nitrogen and argon to meet the requirements of the Malaysian merchant market and Air Liquide Malaysia’s growth plans.

Commenting on the dual announcements, Jean-Pierre Duprieu, Senior Vice-President in charge of Asia Pacific and member of Air Liquide’s Executive Committee, declared, “We are very proud to have been selected by IndianOil and MRC as a key partner for the supply of oxygen and nitrogen. These successes confirm Air Liquide’s leading position in northern India and our further expansion in Malaysia.”

“These investments are driven by the trend towards the outsourcing of industrial gas needs and are in line with the group’s growth strategy, which includes accelerating its investments in emerging economies.”

To expand the refinery’s capacity and improve productivity, MRC will revamp its refinery, which will lead to additional oxygen needs in mid-2009. MRC has chosen Air Liquide to supply oxygen from October 2009.