Two decades of operational excellence and success were celebrated by Air Products and Technip to mark the 20 year milestone of the longest and most productive global hydrogen alliance supporting the oil and gas industry around the world.

The global alliance was formed to meet refining industry demands for outsourced hydrogen to make cleaner burning transportations fuels.  During two decades Air Products and Technip have constructed 35 steam methane reformer (SMR) hydrogen production plants.  Located in 11 countries, the combined facilities provide the refining and petrochemical industry with more than two billion standard cubic feet per day of hydrogen.

The global alliance began in 1992 when a paradigm shift in the refining industry began to gain momentum and the industry moved toward outsourcing and buying hydrogen instead of refiners making it on their own.  The success in meeting customer hydrogen demands for supply reliability and plant efficiency across the alliance’s first 10 years led to renewal of the agreement between Air Products and Technip in 2009, extending the relationship beyond the year 2020. 

“This alliance helped lead the global refining industry’s major shift in decision-making to purchase hydrogen from a third-party instead of making its own.  Outsourced hydrogen is supplied to our customers on a 24/7 basis in tonnage quantities, and is a critical requirement for refineries to meet clean fuels standards.  We are very proud to have been working side-by-side with Technip on several continents to help our customers meet the world’s growing energy needs in the most reliable, efficient and sustainable manner,” said John E. McGlade, chairman, president and CEO of Air Products.

Thierry Pilenko, Technip’s Chairman and CEO stated, “Technip is really proud to be a member of this alliance. The valuable feedback we have received from the plants designed for Air Products, coupled with Technip’s high standards in design and engineering, have improved long term operations, where reliability over the years is the main focus. In the end the refining industry benefits by receiving a reliable and cost-effective source of hydrogen. In addition, our global footprint ensures that Technip can accompany its clients around the world, on their projects of tomorrow.”

Throughout the global alliance relationship, the two companies have continued to strive for productivity improvements, supporting sustainability goals of reducing energy consumption and emissions.  One of the notable recent plant onstream sustainability successes of the alliance is located in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.  The new hydrogen facility, brought onstream in 2011, improved energy efficiency over the previous hydrogen supply by over 15%.  It also lowered carbon dioxide emissions by over 200,000 tons per year, comparable to taking 90,000 cars off the road annually.

The refining industry has sought larger SMRs to meet increased hydrogen demands.  The alliance is scheduled to bring onstream its largest world-scale capacity SMR in fiscal year 2014.  Located in St. Charles, Louisiana, United States, the facility will be the newest alliance project and will feature the latest technology advancements to maximise energy efficiency and emissions reduction. The enhanced SMR design targets optimal heat integration and minimal loss of heat to the environment, which in turn lowers natural gas feedstock consumption.

The extended agreement has also led the alliance to look at extending the geographic reach of new hydrogen production projects in emerging markets including China, India and the Middle East.  In 2013, the alliance’s first SMR in China is due onstream.  Producing over 90 million standard cubic feet per day, it will be the first time a state-owned refinery has outsourced its hydrogen refinery requirement.

To commemorate the 20-year milestone of the alliance, Air Products and Technip awarded a total of $200,000 in scholarships to four colleges and universities. These institutions are located in geographies where the two companies have collaborated to bring onstream world-class projects, and also in new geographies where the industry growth is expected to take the alliance next in support of the global refining industry.  Scholarship winners each receiving $50,000 included: Indian Institute of Technology (Madras, India); King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia); Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, United States); and Rice University (Houston, Texas, United States).