Air Products has announced a long-term supply contract with ExxonMobil (ESSO) and plans to build a new world-scale hydrogen production plant.

The new production plant will feature technological advancements which will maximise facility energy efficiency and emission reductions to service ESSO’s Rotterdam refinery in The Netherlands and additional customers in the region.

The facility, which will be connected to Air Products’ extensive Rotterdam hydrogen pipeline network system, is expected to be on-stream in second half of 2011.

“We are proud to strengthen our relationship with ExxonMobil with this new contract in Europe and to build a new state-of-the-art hydrogen production facility,” said Howard Castle-Smith, Vice President of Tonnage Gases, Equipment and Energy for Air Products in Europe and the Middle East.

“This project enhances Air Products’ existing operations and pipeline network system in the Netherlands where we have a number of hydrogen facilities in the Rotterdam region supplying the refining and chemical industries. This new project demonstrates our commitment to a region which has made hydrogen a key to its continued development.”

“The new hydrogen facility will use cutting edge processes and technology to maximize energy efficiency and significantly reduce overall plant emissions,” commented Denis Deheusch, General Manager of Tonnage Gases for Air Products in the Benelux.

“We will be able to achieve this through an enhanced plant design which targets minimal loss of heat to the environment and a reduced natural gas requirement.”

The Rotterdam project builds on two previous announcements in the past year involving Air Products and ExxonMobil in the United States.

Air Products is building a new world scale hydrogen production facility which will supply ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge, Louisiana facility, and the company has also announced a hydrogen pipeline supply agreement from its Gulf Coast network to ExxonMobil’s Baytown, Texas refinery. Both projects are to come on-stream in 2010.

Air Products’ hydrogen facility in Rotterdam will be built through the global alliance between Air Products and Technip. This alliance, which has built over 30 hydrogen production facilities, continues to provide the worldwide refining industry with competitive technology and world-class safety.