Continuing its expansion in China, Air Products has signed a contract to supply industrial gases to Xingtai Iron and Steel Corporation Ltd, on of China’s largest specialty steel manufacturers.

The contract will see Air Products purchase and operate four existing air separation units (ASUs) and build a new ASU to supply industrial gases under a long-term agreement.

Located in China’s Hebei province, Xingtai Steel is expanding its existing steelmaking capacity and will be supplied with over 1,700 tons per day (tpd) of oxygen from the combined ASUs.

The oxygen, nitrogen and argon produced by the plants will be used by Xingtai to help meet China’s growing demand for specialty steel products.

Phil Sproger, Vice President of Business Development for Asia at Air Products, is enthusiastic about the deal and said, “We are very pleased to be chosen by Xingtai Steel, one of China’s leading specialty steel producers, to build this ASU and supply their increasing need for industrial gases.”

“This on-site plant fits well with Air Products’ strategic plan and allows our merchant industrial gas business to continue expanding in China.”

The purchase of the existing ASUs is pending Chinese government approval, which is expected in 2009, while the new ASU is expected to be on-stream in March 2011. It will be designed and built primarily by Air Products’ engineering centre in Shanghai and its cryogenic manufacturing center in nearby Caojing.