Air Liquide is to acquire the world’s biggest oxygen production site located in Secunda, South Africa from integrated energy and chemical company Sasol.

This means the French industrial gases group would operate the 16 air separation units (16) on the site, with an installed capacity of 42,000 tonnes per day of oxygen, in addition to the unit already operates today.

Air Liquide also revealed multi-year plans to modernise these facilities, in an initial South African Rand 8.5bn (€440m) investment, and provide a solution, in coordination with Sasol, that would reduce CO2 emissions arising from the oxygen production by 30% to 40% by 2030.

Present on the site since 1979, Air Liquide has built and sold to Sasol the 16 ASU’s the group is acquiring today, in addition to the unit it directly operates.

Air Liquide said the parties aim to negotiate final agreements within the next months, which will be subject to approval by the relevant authorities.

Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide, said, “The acquisition and operation of all the oxygen production units of the Sasol Secunda site represents a key step in the long term relationship we have had with Sasol for 40 years, and we are pleased to be able to reinforce it for the years to come.”

“It will enable new teams to join those of the group already present on site. In line with our strategy and our know-how, this operation illustrates our intent to act as of now in favour of the climate and local ecosystems.”

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Source: Air Liquide

“It will allow both Air Liquide and Sasol to focus on their core business, combining operational efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions.”

“Climate action is at the heart of Air Liquide’s growth strategy and our Climate Objectives are the most ambitious of our sector.”

“Our capacity for intervention is wide and goes from renewable energy-based hydrogen or oxygen production to energy efficiency programs on existing sites.”

“Solutions exist and we will continue to champion these worldwide. Now is the time to act.”

Fleetwood Grobler, Sasol President and CEO said, “We have embarked on a journey to reposition Sasol of the future as a more resilient and sustainable enterprise.”

“In the short-term, a number of measures has been developed and one of these measures is the acceleration of our asset divestment programme to streamline our portfolio by focusing on core assets.”

“While this transaction is in line with this review and has important commercial benefits there are very clear and compelling strategic objectives – one of the most significant being the pursuit of decarbonisation not only for the ASU operations but for the whole of Sasol’s Secunda Operations.”