The Gas Review reports that Iwatani is to construct a new CO2 plant this autumn with an investment of around Y600m, expected to be completed in the autumn of next year.

In September the company, in conjunction with Shanghai Petrochemical Investment Development, raised the capital it held in the Shanghai Petrochemical-Iwatani Gases Development joint venture from $3.59m to around $5.94m.

This would then be followed by the construction of the new plant, scheduled for completion next year.

Annual demand for carbon dioxide in the Shanghai area is now thought to have reached around 500,000 tonnes, with a perceived shortage of gas to meet demand could trigger the need for a further third plant in the future.

Combined with the company’s annual 30,000 tonnes capacity at its existing plant, production from the soon-to-be constructed second plant would expand the total to around 70,000 tpy.

Iwatani’s Fumiaki Ooya, Executive Officer, explained, “Even completion of the current expansion will not lead to a complete solution to the shortage of gas. There is certainly sufficient need to look into construction of a new third plant as early as next term, due to the major growth in the market.”

Located in the vicinity of the plant are the shipbuilding areas of Shanghai Wai Gao Qiao Bonded Logistics Zone and Changxing Dao, the latter boasting the largest shipbuilding yard in China and a major user of carbon dioxide.

Although stage 1 construction of the shipyard was completed in June, stage 2 is planned for 2009 and this is expected to present even greater demand for the gas, ensuring the shortage continues for the time being.