Air Products has opened its two new hydrogen production facilities in the US.

The plants, based in Convent (Louisiana) and Baytown (Texas), are among six facilities in the US and Canada that Air Products is bringing on-stream over a ten-month period.

These six new facilities will increase Air Products' hydrogen production capacity by 35 per cent, and annual hydrogen and related syngas sales of approximately $1.3 billion by more than $400 million. The hydrogen is used by refiners to make cleaner transportation fuels and other petroleum products from heavier, sour crude feedstocks.

'Despite some of the difficulties brought on by the hurricanes, the facilities are operational very close to their original schedule. We were pleased with the construction effort, including the support from many local contractors, and our operating team is running day-to-day production,' said Jeffry L. Byrne, vice president and general manager, Refining and Process Industries at Air Products.

The Convent facility, initially announced in July 2004, is designed to produce 110 million standard-cubic-feet-per-day (MMSCFD) of hydrogen from a steam methane reformer. The facility, located at the Motiva refinery, supplies the Motiva Enterprises LLC refinery in Convent and the Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC (MAP) refinery in Garyville, Louisiana by pipeline feed. It also provides hydrogen to Air Products' Mississippi River corridor pipeline system along a 90-mile pipeline network from Baton Rouge to Norco.

Air Products' Baytown facility expansion was originally announced in November 2004. It is designed to produce 70 MMSCFD of hydrogen and is connected to the Air Products West Gulf Coast pipeline system. The facility supplies hydrogen to ExxonMobil's refinery and other customers on the pipeline system. The plant receives feedgas from ExxonMobil's Syngas facility and, in addition to producing hydrogen, will continue to recover other gases for use by the petrochemical industry.

Both new hydrogen facilities operate under long-term contracts and are among over 30 supply arrangements Air Products has undertaken with refiners worldwide.