Praxair, Inc. has started up its second air separation unit (ASU) in the Port of Antwerp, as well as announcing plans to extend its pipeline supply system.
Having first publicised plans to develop its presence in the port in 2013, the new 1,300 tonnes per day (tpd) plant increases Praxair’s oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2) capacity and will serve long-term customer contracts.
Under the development, Praxair’s extensive pipeline system now supplies O2 and N2 to the majority of chemical companies in the port – which is the second largest petrochemical enclave in the world after Houston, Texas.
The new facility will also produce liquid O2, N2 and argon (Ar) to support local customers and facilitate growth in the pharmaceutical, chemical, glass, cement, metal fabrication and food industries in Belgium and the Netherlands.
”Praxair is well-positioned to grow with the port given the investments we have made”
Frank Wegmann, Managing Director, Praxair Germany and Benelux
In addition, the Tier One player has commenced construction of O2 and N2 pipeline extensions on the east and west banks of the Port, which are due to be completed by the end of the year.
Frank Wegmann, Managing Director of Praxair Germany and Benelux, emphasised the industrial gas giant’s growth strategy and stated, “We continue to grow our industrial gas capacity and pipeline network in Belgium and the Netherlands to better serve customers in the region.”
“The Port of Antwerp is the largest chemical and petrochemical complex in Europe and continues to make additional investments in its infrastructure to expand capacity. Praxair is well-positioned to grow with the port given the investments we have made.”
Praxair signed a 15-year contract to supply O2 and N2 to Total in the Port of Antwerp back in January this year. Under an investment of €1bn ($1.1bn) from the global integrated energy producer, Praxair expanded its pipelines an additional three miles to connect with Total’s refinery.
According to gasworld Business Intelligence, the Belgian industrial gas market is responsible for just under half of all industrial gas revenues in the Benelux region. In Belgium, Praxair holds a market share of 17% and is the second largest industrial gas company, behind the leader Air Liquide which dominates with 62%.