The Government of India has granted permission for manufacturers of industrial oxygen to manufacture and sell the gas for medical use, as the country continues to anticipate an escalation in its cases of coronavirus and resulting hospital admissions.

gasworld understands the proposal was put forward by the All India Industrial Gases Manufacturer’s Association (AIIGMA), to ensure the availability and supply of oxygen for medical use across the country.

The grant was today issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (Government of India) and essentially enables all manufacturers of industrial oxygen in the country to obtain a license to sell the product for medical use within 24 hours of their application being received.

It’s thought that the grant could prove to be something of a breakthrough development for many other countries to follow suit as they battle to maintain adequate oxygen supply in the face of mounting health crises at the hands of Covid-19.

At the time of writing, India has just under 6,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 178 fatalities, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

Oxygen is the largest revenue generating industrial gas In India, according to gasworld Business Intelligence, though this is predominantly linked to the sale of oxygen to the steel and wider metallurgy sector.

The Indian industrial gas sector has an unusually large onsite business for a developing country, with a large number of steel clients that have been ‘weaned’ off captive owned and operated supply solutions in the last decade.

gasworld understands that in most normal circumstances, ASUs (air separation plants) tend to operate at around 75-85% of their maximum capacity, an optimal operational balance between supply and demand. This means that in the context of any significant outbreak of coronavirus and patient care in a given region, the output of oxygen – a product not often associated with short supply – can be increased as demand requires and without the construction of any new plants.