The Linde Group has entered into two new contracts for the on-site supply of gases to the companies Ningbo Iron & Steel Co. Ltd and Hanwha Chemical Corporation (HCC) in Ningbo, eastern China.

Under the agreements, Linde will build an additional air separation plant at the emerging industrial site on the Yangtze delta, at an investment of around €17m.

The new plant will supply an extra 21,000 scmh (standard cubic metres per hour) of oxygen to the steelworks of Ningbo Steel in the Ningbo Beilun district from the middle of 2009.

Linde Gas Ningbo, a fully-owned subsidiary of The Linde Group, has been supplying the largest integrated producer of iron and steel in the region exclusively since 2007 - with a total of 42,000 scmh of oxygen and 40,000 scmh of nitrogen from two air separation plants.

“The construction of this third air separation plant will ensure that we are able to meet the rising demand from Ningbo Steel for air gases as a result of its expansion in steel production,” said Dr Aldo Belloni, member of the Executive Board of Linde AG.

“The new supply agreements with Ningbo Steel and Hanwha Chemicals are yet another step on the way towards establishing the biggest cluster for air gases in China in Ningbo by 2010. We are able to benefit here from close cooperation with our Engineering Division.”

In the industrial development zone of Daxie, an island lying off the coast of Ningbo, Korean company Hanwha Chemical Corporation is building a production facility for PVC (polyvinyl chloride). The new factory should come on stream at the end of 2010.

During the initial phase, Linde will supply HCC with up to 8,250 scmh of oxygen and 2,000 scmh of nitrogen. The gases will be supplied from two air separation plants, each with a total capacity of 39,000 scmh per pipeline, which Linde is currently building for its customer Ningbo Wanhua Polyurethane Co. Ltd on its Daxie site.

Under the supply agreement signed in December 2007, Linde Gas Ningbo will supply Ningbo Wanhua’s polyurethane plants from 2010 with large volumes of oxygen and nitrogen. At more than €100m, this is Linde’s biggest single investment to date in China.