Airgas USA, LLC, an Air Liquide company, has revealed its plans to build a new air separation unit (ASU) in North Carolina.

gasworld reported back in August that the Tier One company was considering building an ASU, large storage facility and also a distribution terminal in Mebane, North Carolina.

Plans emerge for potential new Airgas facility in North Carolina

As part of a presentation to the Alamance County Board of Commissioners, Airgas discussed the plans and told the board it sees North Carolina as a growing market and it has no similar facilities in the state.

The US-based company has now confirmed the plans and expects the facility, which will produce oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2) and argon (Ar) for use in customer applications such as metal fabrication, blanketing and purging, combustion, chilling and freezing, to be on-stream in 2019. In addition, the ASU will produce medical grade O2 to supply to hospitals, nursing homes and research laboratories as well as food and pharmaceutical grade N2.

The ASU will support the region’s bulk gas market and enhance the company’s gas supply chain, to help ensure long-term reliability of supply for its merchant, packaged and on-site gas customers.

Airgas’s CEO and Air Liquide Executive Committee Vice-President, Pascal Vinet, said Airgas is continuing to expand its gas production and distribution capabilities throughout the US, adding, “Airgas looks forward to meeting the growing needs of gas customers in the thriving North Carolina market and throughout the region. We look forward to working closely with the Mebane community and the state of North Carolina to bring new opportunities and growth for many years to come.”

James Barr, gasworld’s Senior Business Analyst, observed, “The South East industrial gas market was valued at just under $5bn in 2016. Air Liquide’s and Airgas’ combined business accounts for a market share of around 37%.”