Over the coming days, we’re going to be looking at my top 10 stories across the industrial gas year – and what a year it has been. We’re going to see hydrogen, synthetic fuels, ASU growth, medical oxygen milestones, and so much more besides.
So far we’ve explored stories from Russia (Gazprom’s Amur helium project), India (the announcement of eight new ASUs from INOX Air Products) and Pakistan (gearing up for green hydrogen) and now, we move further inland and into Central Asia – to Kazakhstan.
This is an industrial gas market on the march, albeit from a small base.
According to gasworld Business Intelligence, the commercial industrial gases market in Kazakhstan generated revenues of approximately $128m in 2019, up from $37m in 2009 – indicating an average annual growth rate of 13.9% per annum (p.a.) for the decade.
In that timeframe, I’ve seen at least two stories of industrial gas projects in the region that I was unable to publish, for various reasons. As a result, the country has always peaked my interest and I’ve had a watching brief for exciting new developments.
This year, we’ve seen several. And in at seven on my Top 10 Editor’s Picks for the year is this story from Air Liquide, investing €86m in hydrogen and nitrogen units in the country.
The company revealed on 2nd March that it planned to acquire the units from Atyrau refinery, owned by KazMunayGas. Once acquired, Air Liquide will modernise the units.
The investments would be carried out through the company’s 75%-owned joint venture Air Liquide Munay Tech Gases (ALMTG) as part of an effort to increase its presence in the country.
Later in the year, just a couple of months ago in fact, we also saw Linde reveal a new investment in Kazakhstan, also with KazMunayGas.
On 1st November gasworld reported how Kazakhstan’s hydrogen and ammonia markets are set to be boosted by the new partnership between KazMunayGas and Linde, which will see the two companies explore both green and blue hydrogen and ammonia production.
The duo hope to accelerate clean energy projects in the region, and a feasibility study will be carried out to evaluate both using natural gas as a feedstock, to create blue hydrogen and blue ammonia, and water electrolysis technologies to create green hydrogen and green ammonia.
Upon completion of the feasibility study, the partnership will then work to develop a green hydrogen and green ammonia production plant in Kazakhstan, Linde said.
Read more: Linde inks hydrogen deal in Kazakhstan
According to gasworld’s Kazakhstan report (2019), oxygen is currently the main revenue generating industrial gas in the Kazakhstan, contributing approximately $44m in revenue for 2019 and no doubt driven by the country’s strong metallurgy sector. Sales of hydrogen resulted in $19.8m of revenue, but if this Editor’s Pick is anything to go by, that figure could change dramatically in the years ahead.