BOC India (BOCI) has entered into a long-term contract to supply gases for an expansion programme underway at JSW Steel Limited (JSW) at Bellary, Karnataka, southern India.

JSW operates a world-class steel making facility at Bellary and is nearly doubling its capacity to seven million tonnes a year. Under the new contract, BOCI will supply JSW Steel over 3,000 tonnes per day of gaseous oxygen, nitrogen and argon from a custom-built air separation unit (ASU).

To meet this requirement BOCI will set up one of the largest build-and-operate on-site air separation plants in the country. The state-of-the-art ASU will meet all of JSW Steel\\$quot;s gases requirements and additionally will produce liquid products to meet the growing demand from customers in southern India. The ASU, which will be one of BOC\\$quot;s largest in Asia, is expected to be commissioned in 2008 in time to meet the requirements of gases arising from the ongoing expansion programme at JSW Steel.

Dr. B. N. Singh, joint managing director & CEO, JSW Steel said: "BOC was able to provide the best technical solution for our gases requirement. This along with their reputation for quality and reliability was the key in our selection of BOC to support our expansion programme."

"We are delighted to be selected by JSW Steel for this second contract to meet all their gases requirements arising from their expansion programme. We value our relationship with JSW Steel and with the gases requirement of nearly 4500 MTPD from the expansion alone they will become BOCI\\$quot;s largest customer in India," said Mr ER Raj Narayanan, managing director, BOC India Limited.

This contract follows an earlier agreement signed last year with JSW Steel to supply its Bellary site with some 1,400 tonnes per day of oxygen and nitrogen. An ASU is currently under construction by a BOC joint venture, with commercial production expected to begin later this year. In addition to its major air separation plants in Jamshedpur, Tarapur and Taloja, BOCI has recently commissioned its latest merchant ASU in Hyderabad.