At a special ceremony in Scunthorpe, UK earlier this month, work formally began on BOC’s new oxygen production facility adjacent to the Corus steelmaking plant.

The site provides oxygen to the adjacent Corus steelmaking plant and the new 1600 tpd ASU is planned to operational by June 2010.

As a member of The Linde Group, BOC is working on the project with colleagues in the Linde Engineering Division, with an investment of thought to be around £60m at the Scunthorpe site.

Key elements of the contract include the construction of a new ASU (Air Separation Unit) to supply additional oxygen and nitrogen to Corus (a subsidiary of Tata Steel), the extension of the existing pipeline network supplying the steelworks, and the refurbishment of the existing ASU.

The new facilities mean BOC will be able to significantly increase its supply of gases to Corus, with a total projected capacity at the completion of the works of around 4,000 tonnes of oxygen per day.

In turn this will allow Corus to increase its overall steel output as part of its expansion plans. Other BOC customers who are served from the Scunthorpe site will also benefit from the upgraded plant.

Mike Huggon, Head of BOC UK & Ireland, commented at the ceremony, “Yesterday we celebrated the first 50 years of oxygen production at Scunthorpe. Today, we look to the future as we begin the construction of a new oxygen production facility that will make this site one of the most modern and efficient in Europe.”

The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by local political figures, directors of both Corus and BOC, as well as current and former members of staff at the site.

BOC has worked with the steelmakers of Scunthorpe since 1958 and Corus is the company’s biggest customer in the UK.