Air Liquide is to increase its hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) supply to Kumbo Mitsui Chemical Inc (KMCI) after the Tier One company signed a new long-term contract with the South Korean chemical group.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Air Liquide will invest around €100m ($124.2m) to build a new, state-of-the-art H2 production unit.

The new SMR (Steam Methane Reformer) , designed, manufactured, owned and operated by Air Liquide, will increase production capacity at the Yeosu industrial complex of both H2 and CO by around 50%. The new unit, fully integrated with Air Liquide’s existing H2 and CO supply system, will support the expansion of KMCI’s chemicals production at Yeosu.

Expected to start operations in 2020, the new SMR will be designed and built by Air Liquide’s Engineering and Construction teams using world-class technologies to offer energy efficiency as well as optimal safety and reliability. It enhances Air Liquide’s local production network and strengthens the Group’s leadership position in a key industrial area of South Korea.

François Abrial, member of the Air Liquide Group’s Executive Committee supervising Asia Pacific, said, “We are pleased to strengthen our long-term partnership with KMCI and to enhance our investment into the promising and dynamic Yeosu region. As this new contract illustrates, South Korea represents an attractive investment destination in Asia for Air Liquide due to its integrated industrial base and strong innovation capabilities. We look forward to continuing the sustainable expansion of our operations there, in step with the country’s overall economic development.”