Air Liquide have announced the signing of a long-term contract for the supply of hydrogen to Innovene* for its Lavera refinery in the south of France.

Air Liquide will design and install a new hydrogen unit on the existing Lavera platform. This latest-generation unit will supply approximately 20,000 m3/h of hydrogen and a 40km hydrogen pipeline network located in the “Berre L’Etang” industrial basin in the south of France.

Air Liquide is committing approximately 40 million euros to this project, which is due for commissioning in late 2006.

François Darchis, member of Air Liquide Executive Committee, stated: “We are very pleased with Innovene’s choice of Air Liquide to supply hydrogen to its Lavera activities. In this industrial area, as in many large industrial basins around the world, Air Liquide invests to support its customers in their efforts to produce clean fuels.\\$quot;

The production of clean fuels, with very low sulphur content is mandated by increasingly stringent environmental regulations in Europe and the United States. Removing sulphur from fuels requires large amounts of hydrogen. In 2004, hydrogen represented approximately four billion m3 volume and nearly 500 million euros in sales for Air Liquide. Most of the hydrogen produced today is earmarked for the desulphurization of hydrocarbons in refineries. The hydrogen business is expected to represent sales of nearly one billion euros for the group in 2008.