Air Water has entered into an agreement with Kobe Steel to supply industrial gas to the Kobe Works plant, which provides gas for steel production and produces liquid gas for sale on the merchant market, on an exclusive basis.

The agreement, set to take effect as of 1st April 2009, will involve the transference of the current air separation units (ASUs), several new facilities will be installed, with operations set to commence in 2011.

Previously handled by Kobe Steel, the supply management of industrial gases such as separated gas, compressed air, and hydrogen will now be outsourced to Air Water.

For the time being, the two companies will be working together to operate the facilities in order to make the transfer of supervision and operation as efficient as possible.

This represents Air Water’s fifth onsite supply contract for the iron and steel sector, following contracts with the Nippon Steel plant in Muroran and the Sumitomo Metal Industries plants in Kashima, Wakayama, and Kokura.

Kobe Works produces specialist products such as wiring materials for use in the automotive industry, dominating the global share in this area and is expected to strengthen its position with a stable demand anticipated for high quality, speciality steel.

Of the three ASU’s produced by Kobe Steel and in operation at the Kobe Works plant, two have been in operation for over forty years and are in need of replacing.

As yet, capacities of the new air separation units have not been confirmed but will be designed on a scale that will facilitate the increasing production of iron and steel at the plant, with an expected investment of around Y4bn.