Air Products yesterday announced that extensive damage caused by Hurricane Katrina has impacted the company's industrial gas complex in New Orleans, Louisiana.

However, currently Air Products' primary focus is on the safety and welfare of its employees in the area. The company will continue to work with local emergency responders as the impact of Hurricane Katrina is assessed and actions are taken to recover from it.

Although the full extent of the damage to the New Orleans production facilities is unknown at this time, the company will be working to bring operations back on line safely. Restart of the plant will be largely dependent on the availability of power, utilities, communications, other infrastructure access and the extent of the damage.

Based on initial assessments, damage from the hurricane will affect Air Products' ability to supply customers with hydrogen from the New Orleans plant for an extended period of time.

In addition, the company's liquid hydrogen production facility at Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, will be experiencing a scheduled shutdown due to a temporary suspension of its supplier's feedgas plant. As a result, the company has declared ‘force majeure’ for liquid hydrogen at these two industrial gas locations.

In these extraordinary circumstances, Air Products is actively working to assist customers with their supply needs, including obtaining product from other sources and geographies. Communications with all customers are underway.

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