Air Products has announced the signing of a new long-term supply contract between its subsidiary Air Products Canada Ltd. and US Steel Canada, Inc, in Nanticoke, Ontario, Canada.

In conjunction with this new agreement, Air Products will build a new air separation unit (ASU) with a high efficiency liquefier facility. The new facility, to be on-stream in the fourth quarter of 2009, marks an expansion of Air Products’ oxygen and nitrogen supply to the steel mill and increased merchant liquid argon capacity, as well as a more efficient production of merchant liquid oxygen and nitrogen for the company’s operation at its Nanticoke facility.

“We have been supplying the Lake Erie facility’s tonnage industrial gas requirements with our original Nanticoke air separation plant since 1980. This latest investment by Air Products keeps pace with Lake Erie’s increased demand for industrial gases and represents another milestone in our long-term relationship,” explained Alex Masetti, Vice President of Tonnage Gases North America for Air Products.

“At the same time, the new liquefier will increase our supply capacity and improve our market position in the Eastern Canada and Northeastern US markets for liquid products,” added Masetti.

The new ASU will supply over 1,200 tpd of gaseous oxygen for US Steel’s operations. The new high efficiency liquefier will produce over 500 tpd of liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen, and increase pure liquid argon production capacity for North American customers in several market applications. The larger and more efficient facility will replace the original Air Products' plant at the same location.

The investment is another indication that Air Products’ industrial activity in Canada has increased greatly over the past several years. A new hydrogen production plant to serve customers in the Alberta Heartlands industrial corridor and refinery industry near Edmonton, Alberta was placed on-stream in April 2008.

Air Products also commercialised an earlier hydrogen production facility at the same location, as well as at a plant in Sarnia, Ontario to serve local refiners in 2006. The Sarnia facility is connected with the company’s hydrogen liquefaction plant located nearby, which has been safely and reliably liquefying and distributing hydrogen for over 25 years.