The board of directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will provide 72 million euro loan to OAO Severstal and Air Liquide, EBRD said.

The funds will be used for construction of air separation unit.

The joint venture is designed to set up and operate its own air separation unit to meet the increasing requirements in oxygen of the strong Cerepovetz site, located between Moscow and St Petersburg in the Vologda region.

This unit, which is to be designed and assembled at Cerepovetz by Air Liquide's engineering department, is scheduled for commissioning in the summer of 2007.

It will be the largest air separation unit in Russia and the largest in the world dedicated to steel production. With a capacity of 3,000 tonnes of oxygen a day, it will supply the steel mill with high purity, high-pressure oxygen, as well as nitrogen and argon. The total investment for the joint company, which is currently being financed, will amount to approximately 103 million euros.

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Largest air separation unit in Russia for JSC “Severstal”