Capacity Builds: The US Air Gases Market Report


Announcements of domestic air separation unit builds during 2012 through 2015 indicate that it will be a busy few years for the US air gases business. This is a welcome change from earlier in the decade when economic recessions only financially permitted improvements to those capacities from debottlenecking and reaming out of nameplate capacities.

A slowly improving economic landscape has led to an increase in demand for oxygen, nitrogen, and argon across various sectors, especially in oil and gas. We last reported on the US Air Gases Market in 2012 (see “The US Air Gases Report” CryoGas, March 2012, p. 26). In this report, we look at the future of the US Air Gases Market, including causes for the increases in demand for all three gases that have necessitated an increase in total capacity. 

The ASU Resurgence 

Air separation units (ASUs) are the backbone of the industrial gas industry. This technology is over 100 years old and continues to be improved in terms of efficiency, cost, reliability, and size. Investments in new or expanded capacity represent millions of dollars and are based on large and long-term demand drivers for industrial gas products. For example, Linde North America has broken ground for a large, state-of-the art ASU in La Porte, Texas. The ASU, part of a $200 million Linde investment that will also include a gasification train and supporting equipment and facilities, will come onstream in the first quarter of 2015 and will be the largest such Linde plant in the US. (See “Linde Breaks Ground on New ASU in Texas,” CryoGas, August/September 2013, pp. 10-11.

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