Air Liquide has signed a new long-term contract with steel and mining firm PAO Severstal for the supply of oxygen, nitrogen and argon in Russia.

The French corporation will invest around €50m ($56.6m) in the construction of a state-of-the-art air separation unit (ASU) at the Severstal CherMK site in Cherepovets, expected to be operational by the end of 2020.

Designed, constructed and owned by Air Liquide, the new ASU will produce 2,000 tonnes of oxygen per day. This will bring the total production capacity of Air Liquide above 7,000 tonnes of oxygen per day on this site, making it one of the largest industrial gas production units across the steel industry worldwide.

According to Air Liquide, the new ASU will significantly improve the energy efficiency and overall environmental footprint of the Severstal production process, reducing CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes/year – the yearly emissions of 7,500 cars.

The project will be operated by Air Liquide Severstal, a joint venture established in 2005 between Air Liquide and Severstal.

Guy Salzgeber, Air Liquide’s Executive Vice-President and member of the group’s Executive Committee supervising industrial activities in Europe, said, “We are pleased to strengthen our long-term partnership with Severstal.”

“The signature of this major contract and renewal of the initial one demonstrates trust and confidence in the ability to create value for our customers and deliver long-term performance which is key to ensure profitable growth.”

“We are also committed to accompany our customers in the energy transition journey by promoting low carbon solutions for a sustainable industry.”

Alexander Shevelev, General Director of Severstal Management, added, “This contract is further demonstration of Severstal’s commitment to sustainable development, as we continue to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency at our production sites.”

“We are pleased to work with Air Liquide, who shares our focus on environmental protection and takes a highly responsible attitude to ecological conservation.”

“Throughout our long partnership, Air Liquide has demonstrated its ability to deliver high-quality products and innovative services to its customers, and I hope that our positive collaboration will develop further as we continue contributing to the environment protection along with achieving operational excellence together.”