Air Liquide will construct a state-of-the-art air separation unit (ASU) for Russian steel producer NLMK as part of a new long-term partnership.

Under the agreement, the French industrial gases group will invest around €100m in a combination of three projects at NLMK’s flagship site in Lipetsk.

Startup for the new ASU, which will have a production capacity of 1,000 tonnes of oxygen per day, is expected in 2023, and Air Liquide is also set to acquire all the assets for the production of hydrogen and rare gases at the Lipetsk site.

Leveraging on new ways of working, Air Liquide and NLMK were able to finalise this new partnership digitally during lockdown periods due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

François Jackow, Executive Vice-President and a member of the Air Liquide Group’s Executive Committee, said, “This contract demonstrates growth of our Large Industries business in top industrial sites as well as the strength of our integrated model that enables expansion of the Industrial Merchant activity in this high-density regional market.”

“Air Liquide will also contribute through its technological know-how and innovative solutions towards improved energy efficiency of NLMK’s flagship site.”

“This is a concrete illustration of how Air Liquide can contribute to a modern responsible industry.”