Airgas has announced plans to build a new 450 tonnes-per-day liquid carbon dioxide plant in the greater Houston area to replace its plant at the Shell Deer Park Refinery complex that is expected to close late this year.

Airgas has entered into long-term agreements with affiliates of Denbury Resources to transport and deliver feedstock of raw carbon dioxide to the new Airgas facility.

“The construction of this facility represents Airgas’ commitment to this very important and strategic market,” said Phil Filer, President, Airgas Carbonic and Airgas Dry Ice.

“With our long-term feedstock agreements we will be able to serve existing and secure new carbon dioxide customers in the petrochemical industry, as well as the traditional food chilling and beverage carbonation industries. We will also be supplying liquid carbon dioxide to our dry ice facility in LaPorte, Texas.”

Airgas expects that construction will begin shortly on its new carbon dioxide purification and liquefaction plant and will be completed in the fall.

The Airgas and Denbury relationship goes back to 2001, when Airgas sold its Jackson Dome reserves and the associated 183-mile pipeline in Mississippi to Denbury. Recently, Denbury opened up its Green Pipeline which transports this natural, well-based carbon dioxide more than 500 miles to its current terminus at the Hastings Field, just south of William P. Hobby Airport.

According to Filer, the new Airgas plant will repurpose many of the existing assets from the current Deer Park facility, such as storage tanks, truck loading equipment, scales, and analytical equipment. Furthermore, current Airgas production and distribution personnel will all be relocated to the new facility.

Airgas currently operates eleven liquid carbon dioxide plants and 52 dry ice facilities supplying customers in the chemicals, food processing, food service, beverage, pharmaceutical and biotech industries.