Praxair announced price increases for its industrial and medical specialty gas customers in the U.S. and for helium customers worldwide.

The increases will be effective immediately or as otherwise permitted by customer contracts.

James Fuchs, president of Praxair’s North American Industrial Gases group, said: \\$quot;We are working hard to hold costs in line. However, we cannot absorb the increases in energy, transportation, raw materials and regulatory compliance costs.

“These price adjustments are made necessary by sustained record-high energy and transportation costs, which in some cases have been exacerbated by the effects of hurricanes on the Gulf Coast.”

Fuchs also noted that industrial gas demand remains strong while energy and distribution costs have risen significantly. The rising cost of crude and refined liquid helium and increased costs associated with helium logistics are additional factors.

The increases are, 15% increase for liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen, 15% increase for liquid hydrogen, 5% to 10% increase for carbon dioxide, 15% increase for helium and15% increase for medical specialty gases.

In addition, the company will continue its cost recovery efforts through various charges and surcharges. Specific product price increases, increases to helium dewar and tube trailer rental rates, surcharges and charges will be communicated to customers by Praxair's regional sales and marketing organisations.