Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP broke ground this week on a new nitrogen liquefier at its air separation plant in Cleburne, Texas. The plant expansion will support market growth and fuel job creation in the region.

The additional liquefier, scheduled to begin commercial production in the third quarter of 2012, will enable Air Liquide to nearly double its supply of industrial gases from the facility in Cleburne to the Texas and Oklahoma merchant markets.

To support the increased production capacity, Air Liquide plans to increase its workforce in Cleburne by at least one-third by hiring as many as 21 permanent employees, including production technicians and truck drivers, in addition to approximately 50 workers needed to construct the expansion.

Mark Lostak, President of Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP, said during the ceremony, “Air Liquide is very pleased to announce the expansion of our air separation plant in Cleburne. The additional capacity further establishes our market presence as we grow to meet the increasing demands of merchant customers in Texas and Oklahoma.”

“On behalf of Air Liquide, I’d like to thank the local community for their support. Air Liquide is proud of its longstanding presence in Cleburne and Johnson County, and we are pleased to be driving growth and new jobs in the region.”

Air Liquide’s air separation plant in Cleburne has been in operation since January of 1998, producing oxygen, nitrogen and argon. The facility services a variety of market segments including food & beverage, manufacturing, glass, electronics, oil & gas, and chemicals.