Airgas, Inc. has signed a long-term agreement to build an air separation unit (ASU) to supply tonnage oxygen, nitrogen and argon via pipeline to Nucor Steel Tuscaloosa, Inc. at its steel manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The large-scale ASU will be constructed adjacent to the existing Nucor facility and is expected to be on-stream by spring 2017.

In addition to supplying Nucor Corporation, it will also expand Airgas’ merchant gas presence in the region overall.

“We’re excited about our new partnership with Nucor and look forward to serving its gas needs in Tuscaloosa with our new, state-of-the-art atmospheric gas production facility,” said Airgas President and CEO Michael L. Molinini.

The new plant will be operated by Airgas Merchant Gases, explained Thomas S. Thoman, Airgas Division President – Gases Production, adding, “Our investment in new production capabilities in Tuscaloosa will provide supply security to Nucor and strengthen our gas supply chain to ensure long-term reliability for our packaged and merchant gas customers throughout the region.”

Randy Skagen, Vice-President and General Manager of Nucor Steel Tuscaloosa, Inc., added, “Airgas has been very responsive in understanding and formulating solutions to our gas supply needs and, through the new ASU, will provide Nucor with an innovative and highly reliable long-term supply system.”

The plant’s announcement has also been met with regional authority approval, with Dara Longgrear, Executive Director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority, commenting, “On behalf of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority board of directors, I would like to congratulate Airgas on its announcement of a new ASU in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.”

“Our community is proud to support Airgas and Nucor Steel and we look forward to future opportunities and growth in Tuscaloosa through this new facility.”