The impact on rare gases due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine


As you most likely are aware, the rare gases krypton, xenon, and neon are by-products of very large air separation plants (ASU). These ASU’s are almost all attached to steel mills.

With this said, adding capacity quickly is not realistic. It takes 1-3 years to add capacity and can only be added to plants that process 1,500 tons of air or more in a day.

Before the invasion of Ukraine, all three rare gases were seeing a demand that was just beginning to approach the level of global production. This supply and demand tightening caused prices to begin to increase in 2021. In September, China closed two of its largest steel mills, which also produce all three rare gases.

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