Praxair Inc. has finalised an agreement with BP whereby Praxair will supply hydrogen and steam to BP’s Whiting, Indiana, refinery complex.

Praxair will build two new hydrogen plants with a total capacity of 200 million standard cubic feet per day. The plants, designed and constructed by Praxair, are scheduled to start up in the second half of 2010.

The use of hydrogen will allow BP to produce very low-sulphur gasoline and diesel fuels in the refining process, and to upgrade heavy Canadian crude oil to lighter, cleaner-burning fuels.

“As part of our longstanding relationship, Praxair is pleased to play a key role in helping BP increase fuel supplies while meeting increasingly stringent environmental regulations,” said Kevin Foti, Vice President, North Region, for Praxair’s North American Industrial Gases business unit.

“We look forward to demonstrating Praxair’s world-class plant-design and construction capabilities, which integrate the latest cost-reduction and energy-efficiency methodologies.”

Praxair has been operating in northern Indiana for almost 100 years and today, BP and other customers in the region are supplied from four locations where Praxair operates 10 air separation plants, a rare gas facility and four smaller hydrogen plants.

A state-of-the-art operations centre in East Chicago, Indiana, controls 130 miles of pipeline that deliver oxygen and nitrogen as well as hydrogen.

Worldwide, Praxair operates 37 hydrogen production plants and seven hydrogen pipeline systems that deliver nearly one billion standard cubic feet per day of hydrogen.