From air separation units (ASUs) to small plant technologies and the increasing uprising in the hydrogen economy, industrial gas projects continue to proliferate globally, in various configurations and capacities.

Various ASU projects were either completed or announced in a number of regional markets last year, and further capacity additions are expected to be realised in 2017. Here are some of gasworld’s highlights of global project developments in the next 12 months.

Part 4 focuses on the Asia-Pacific region.

Bangladesh

Due to come on-stream by 2017 is a new plant by Linde Bangladesh Limited. The company invested around Tk 1.2bn ($15.5m) in a new large ASU in Rupganj, Bangladesh, with a capacity of 100 tpd of liquefied gases, affirming The Linde Group’s long-term growth and development aims for both the region and the wider South Asian market.

The plant will be the largest liquid producing ASU in the country, providing product and related solutions to Bangladesh’s growing healthcare, food and beverage, fabrication, pharmaceutical, shipbuilding and ship recycling industries. It will more than double the company’s current production capacity, strengthening Linde’s position as the leading gases player in Bangladesh. A state-of-the-art cylinder filling site at Rupganj will also be built.

gasworld Business Intelligence valued the Bangladesh industrial gases market at around $65m in 2013, the third-largest in the Asia region.

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China

Praxair is expected to start up two 2,400 tpd ASUs in the Huizhou Daya Bay Chemical Industrial Park, located in Huizhou, Guangdong in 2017, under a long-term contract to provide industrial gases to the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC). The project will enable the reliable and efficient supply of industrial gases for CNOOC’s refinery and downstream chemical production.

Air Liquide will also welcome on-stream a new ASU in China, as part of a long-term contract with one of the largest integrated energy and chemical companies in the country. Under the agreement with Maoming Petrochemical Co. (MPCC), a subsidiary of China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec Corp.), the company will bring into operation an 850 tpd ASU in Maoming City, Guangdong Province in second quarter 2017. The new site will also supply oxygen and nitrogen to MPCC’s new and current ethylene oxide plants.

Air Liquide has other irons in the fire in China in the year ahead too, with a state-of-the-art ASU expected to be commissioned in Dongying, Shandong province, by the second half of 2017. The ASU is primarily to provide gases to Shandong Fangyuan, China’s leading privately-owned copper smelter and one of the world’s largest copper producers.

With a capacity of 2,000 tpd of oxygen, the plant will support Shandong Fangyuan’s ongoing large-scale expansion plan to increase smelting capacity at the Dongying site from 400,000 tonnes to 700,000 tonnes per year by 2017. The oxygen supplied will boost productivity of the smelter while reducing overall CO2 emissions and cutting maintenance costs.

On the clean energy front, McPhy Energy commissions a Wind to Hydrogen (Power to Gas) system for the recovery of surplus energy generated by a 200MW wind farm under construction in the Hebei province of China. Delivery was scheduled for July 2016 with the equipment to be commissioned in January 2017. The Chinese province of Hebei is pioneering in China to embark on technologies related to a clean energy generation based on renewable technologies and their integration into both the existing and future energy network.

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Korea

As 2016 drew to a close, the South Korean industrial gases market was the subject of ongoing scrutiny, with leading local player Daesung Industrial Gases understood to be the subject of fervoured M&A interest and several other key developments in the region in the latter half of the year ramping up the market share intensity.

M&A activities aside, Praxair furthers its footprint in 2017 with no less than four VPSA plants coming on-stream to supply a combined total of 750 tpd of oxygen to Hyundai Oilbank, the leading refinery in the Daesan petrochemical complex.

Praxair will build, own and operate the four VPSA plants at the complex, situated on the west coast of the Korean peninsula. The South Korean industrial gases market was worth approximately $1.7bn in 2015, according to gasworld Business Intelligence, but sales of gases to the country’s refining sector only accounted for approximately 6% of that total last year.

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Japan

Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation (TNSC) will supply on-site gas to JFE Steel from October 2017 in a newly-formed joint venture (JV). As a result, the JV will bring online two new ASUs to replace an existing unit at the Nishi Nippon Steel Works in the Kurashiki District, with the new plants capable of producing approximately 60,000Nm3/h of oxygen.

TNSC’s investment in the new gas supply equipment, including the cryogenic ASU, at the Kurashiki site is estimated to be around ¥20bn ($180m). The steelmaking company currently has six units of cryogenic ASU equipment, with the oldest unit being more than 40 years old. The installation of the new equipment is expected to generate a more efficient production system. It is understood that the steelmaker will continue to supply liquid oxygen, liquid nitrogen and liquid argon to the region, even after the transfer to the new JV.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has been awarded a contract to supply Nippon Ekitan Corporation, a group company of TNSC, with a CO2 capture unit for its liquid CO2 production facility, expected to be fully complete in October 2017. The new unit will capture CO2 generated by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation’s (MCC) chemical plant in Mizushima, Japan, by using an adsorption solvent to separate and capture the CO2 generated by the facility. The new unit will recover approximately 283 metric tonnes per day (mtpd).

Malaysia

Linde Eastern Oxygen Sdn Bhd (Linde EOX), a subsidiary of Linde Malaysia Sdn Bhd, adds approximately 33 tpd of liquefied gases to its portfolio this year with the commissioning of a new ASU in Tanjung Kidurong, Eastern Malaysia.

The Malaysian business unit of The Linde Group invested RM 33m ($8.5m) in the new facility, which will make Linde EOX the largest liquefied ASU gases producer in the South Pacific Rim country – producing a total production capacity of 66 tpd of liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen.

It is understood that the new facility will provide liquefied gases and related solutions to serve East Malaysia’s growing engineering, healthcare, chemical and oil and gas industries, among others. The company already owns an existing ASU in Kuching, which also produces 33 tpd of liquefied gases, and operates a separate cylinder refilling plant in Bintulu which was commissioned in 2014.