Air Products has announced it has signed a long-term contract with Cangzhou Zhengyuan Fertiliser Co, and will build, own and operate an air separation unit (ASU) and integrated gas liquefier in Hebei Province, China.

The ASU will produce approximately 2,000 tons per day (TPD) of gaseous oxygen for Cangzhou Zhengyuan’s gasifier operation at its fertiliser plant in Hebei. The facility also will produce liquid product to serve the region’s growing merchant gases market.  The Air Products ASU and liquefier are to be onstream in 2014.

“We are pleased to have won this contract and to be working with Cangzhou Zhengyuan.  The location of this facility in Hebei Province furthers several of the objectives in our China strategy.  It will site sustainable tonnage gases and merchant operations in a key region and use a proven A2000 ASU product line.  Furthermore, the liquefier provides for the integrated gases model and offering we are seeking to establish in this market,” said Steve Jones Air Products’ China president. Jones, a member of the company’s Corporate Executive Committee relocated to Shanghai approximately one year ago as part of Air Products’ corporate strategy to support significant growth opportunities and accelerate the company’s development in emerging markets.

“Air Products’ proven technology in gases for coal-gasification along with its unparalleled operations and management expertise will help strengthen Zhengyuan’s leading position in coal-gasification, synthetic ammonia and urea industries,” said Liu Jincheng, president of Hebei Yangmei Zhengyuan Chemical Group Co, parent of Cangzhou Zhengyuan, and chief onsite construction command of Cangzhou Zhengyuan. “The cooperation brings mutual benefits and is a win-win deal.”    

The ASU train will include design enhancements to minimize operating costs through energy efficiency technology advancements and other productivity improvements support Air Products’ overall sustainability goals of reducing energy consumption and emissions. Air Products will also locate a liquid bulk terminal facility to support the liquefier at this site to serve merchant gas customers in the region.

Hebei Yangmei Zhengyuan Chemical Group is a manufacturer of urea and ammonia via processes that utilise coal as a feedstock and the largest producer of urea and synthetic ammonia in Hebei province. Cangzhou Zhengyuan is its wholly-owned subsidiary.

The China contract award news follows Air Products’ March 2012 announcement of a long-term contract with another fertiliser producer, Xinlianxin, the largest fertilizer producer in Henan Province and the fourth largest coal based urea producer in China. Air Products’ ASU and liquefier are to be onstream at this location in 2013.

Air Products has been operating in China since 1987 and was one of the first multinational industrial gas corporations to invest in the country. With over 40 operating entities, 50 production facilities and 2,200 employees, the company has already established a strong market position in China and serves a broad range of industries.