Senior Directors and staff from BOC and SSI UK joined local business leaders and other dignitaries at a ceremony at BOC’s Teesside site today to mark the start of a 15-year supply agreement between the two companies.

Under the agreement, BOC, a member of The Linde Group and the biggest industrial gases company in the UK, will supply industrial gases to SSI Steel UK, a major integrated iron and steel manufacturing facility based on Teesside.

The agreement, which follows SSI’s purchase of the Teesside steelworks from Tata Steel in 2011, is one of the largest gases contracts ever awarded in the UK. It represents a long-term commitment by both companies to support steelmaking on Teesside.

To support the contract, BOC has invested £25m in its Teesside site.

The two-year investment programme is now complete and includes an upgrade and expansion of the three existing Air Separation Units (ASUs) which supply oxygen, nitrogen and argon, and re-engineering the existing pipeline systems to SSI UK’s site. Specialist control equipment has also been designed and built for SSI UK’s blast furnace.

Cornelius Louwrens, UK Business Director and Chief Operating Officer of SSI Steel UK said, “I am delighted to have worked with BOC on concluding this important contract, which will help us take SSI UK forward. This supply arrangement is key to our long term plans to maximise our steel slab production capability and satisfy the requirements of our parent company in Thailand and other strategic global customers.”

Sue Graham Johnston, Managing Director of BOC, added, “BOC has been established in Teesside for many years and we are committed to supporting the area’s vital industrial base. Our new partnership with SSI UK is important for jobs and prosperity in the region as well for the UK’s wider industrial sector and I am confident that the investment we have made in our Middlesbrough site will also bring long-term benefits to both companies.”

The significant investment clearly positions BOC’s Middlesbrough’s site as the key location for industrial gases in the region.