Growing demand for gas in the San Juan Basin, where it is thought that a resurgence in natural gas and oil drilling could lie ahead, has driven Praxair, Inc. to begin operating a second nitrogen plant at its facility in Kirtland, New Mexico.

An additional liquefier expansion is also to be completed later this year, Praxair announced.

The newly operational plant will increase total capacity at the site to 300 tons per day (tpd) of liquid nitrogen, in addition to gaseous nitrogen that is being supplied to local pipeline customers under long-term contracts.

Demand for nitrogen in the area continues to grow as local oil and gas operators develop new oil resources in the area and applications like ‘fracking’ gain momentum.

Gerald Miller, vice-president of the West Region for Praxair’s US industrial gases business, said of the development, “Praxair’s new plant will strengthen our supply position in the San Juan basin and help us meet the increasing pipeline and liquid nitrogen demand from customers in this geography.”