From the very first month of the year, 2017 proved to be a strong year for the industrial gases industry – full of project announcements, capacity investments, and breaking M&A news from around the globe.

Indeed, mergers and acquisitions activity continued to surprise in 2017 (think Pentair’s acquisition of Union Engineering or Nikkiso’s purchase of Cryogenic Industries), while one story in particular dominated headlines throughout the year – the proposed merger of Praxair and Linde.

Just as Praxair-Linde proceeded to unfold throughout the year, so too did a positive streak running through the financials of the industry’s major players, all of which appeared to point to a tempered confidence in the industry’s growth prospects for the year ahead – and perhaps the most positive year yet for the industry since its gradual recovery from the financial crisis of 2008/9.

This positivity is widely expected to continue into 2018 – assuming major external headwinds do not become a factor in the industry’s growth – along with further capacity expansions and plant additions, particularly in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific market. As we look ahead to the year ahead, here are some of gasworld’s highlights of global project developments in the next 12 months.

Here you can find gasworld’s edited highlights, in the Asia-Pacific region.

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India

Another major regional project for the industry is set to come on-stream in the year ahead, with Air Products’ joint venture in India bringing six new air separation units (ASUs) into play under a $100m investment.

INOX Air Products Ltd., its joint venture company that it co-owns with the former owners of the Industrial Oxygen Company, has been building the sites to serve the growing onsite and merchant liquid industrial gases market in the country. The plants will produce a combined capacity of over 1,200 metric tonnes per day of liquid product and will serve India’s iron and steel making, glass manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries – and are planned to go into production in 2018 and 2019.

Siddarth Jain, Director of INOX Air Products, said at the time of their announcement last year, “The investment in this capacity will bring much needed product into the Indian market. As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, we continue to invest in these projects to ensure that we are in the best position to support the continued growth of the India economy in general, and the manufacturing industry in particular.”

Also in India, first-half 2018 should see a Chart equipment-enabled LNG import and regasification terminal start operations and produce roughly five million metric tonnes per annum of LNG. Chart Ferox was contracted to supply cryogenic processing equipment for the project, providing a series of heat exchangers comprising of 30 forced draft ambient air vaporizers (FDVs) and six large shell and tube units.

The equipment, which was engineered by Chart Industries subsidiary Thermax, Inc., was manufactured in-house at Ferox in Czech Republic. Local partner Ondstroj built the shell and tube exchangers. Each shell and tube vaporizer weighs almost 50 tonnes, measures 15 metres in length and contains more than 13 miles of stainless steel tube that incorporates Thermax proprietary Vortex Flow Generators® for enhanced thermal and hydraulic.

map of china

China

New production plants to supply the growing needs of Shanghai Huali Microelectronics Corporation (HLMC) are set to come on-stream near Shanghai, China in early 2018. Having signed a long-term contract to supply nitrogen, high purity oxygen, helium and other gases to HLMC, a subsidiary of Huahong Group, Praxair has been building two air separation plants to provide approximately 600 tonnes per day of nitrogen to HLMC’s new production base in Kangqiao Industrial Park, 15km away from its existing site at Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park in Shanghai.

Praxair will own and operate the two plants, and originally aimed to start supply from the new plants in early 2018 to support the company’s commissioning and production schedule.

Two state-of-the-art cryogenic air separation plants producing both gaseous oxygen and nitrogen are scheduled to come on-stream in in Guangdong in 2018, courtesy of Air Products. The plants will strengthen Air Products’ position in this strategic industrial base, as well as its relationship with the customer, a leading global materials supplier.

Expected to start operations in the second quarter of 2018, is a new ASU to supply industrial gases including oxygen and nitrogen to ENN Ecological Holdings Company. The ASU will be located in ENN’s industrial park in Dalateqi of Ordos City, Inner Mongolia, will be delivered by Air Liquide, and will have a total capacity of 2,700 tonnes of oxygen per day.

According to gasworld Business Intelligence, the final six of 12 ASUs that Linde is providing for Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd and Shenhua Logistics Group Co. Ltd in Yinchuan in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in Northwest China are due on-stream next year (2018). A captive project, each ASU will supply around 100,000 normal cubic meters of gaseous oxygen per hour (Nm³/h) to Shenhua Ningxia’s Coal-to-Liquid (CTL) complex at Ningdong Energy Chemical Base. The oxygen will be used for the production of four million tonnes of CTL – mainly liquid fuels derived from coal – per year, making this one of the largest CTL projects worldwide.

Air Liquide will bring two new state-of-the-art ASUs, with a total capacity of 2,800 tonnes of oxygen per day, on-stream in Fuxian County of Yan’an City, Shaanxi Province in first quarter 2018. The ASUs are part of a long-term contract with Yan’an Energy and Chemical Co., a subsidiary of Yanchang Petroleum Group, one of the four largest Chinese companies for oil and natural gas exploration & production, and oil refining.

Air Liquide is investing around €80m in the two ASUs, which will supply air gases including oxygen and nitrogen for the chemicals production complex which itself will produce 600,000 tonnes per year of olefins, a chemical intermediate used notably in the production of plastics.

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South Korea

Expected for start-up in 2018 is Praxair’s fourth ASU for Samsung’s display manufacturing complex in Tangjeong, South Korea. Praxair revealed a long-term agreement to build, own and operate the ASU in October (2017), which will supply 700 tonnes per day of nitrogen to the complex, the largest sixth-generation flexible Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLED) panel plant in the world.

Air Products is also set to bring a new ASU on-stream in South Korea in the year ahead, with a new large air separation unit (LASU) set to be delivered in Ulsan to help meet increasing end-user demand driven by the refining, petrochemical, and non-ferrous metals industries, as well as the merchant gas market. The state-of-the-art, more than 1,750 tons per day LASU will produce gaseous and liquefied oxygen, nitrogen and argon.

Japan

March 2018 will see construction complete on the first ever permanent hydrogen station in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, with the station set to open the following month, April 2018. Air Liquide Japan is behind the station, the first to be built in the city except a mobile one, while it will be subsidised by METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan), as well as municipal government of Kanagawa Prefecture.

Located adjacent to one of Air Liquide Japan’s production sites, Kawasaki Oxyton, the new station is expected to become one of the important places for the development of H2mobility including fuel cell buses in the area.

Vietnam

Investing over $90m in the development, Messer is set to deliver the largest industrial gases production facility in Vietnam in the year ahead, comprised of two plants producing 80,000 Nm3 of oxygen and 160,000 Nm3 of nitrogen per hour for the country’s largest steel producer, Hoa Phat Steel.

The two plants in the Dung Quat economic zone in southern-central Vietnam will also supply argon to the steelworks and are due to start operations in November 2018. Aside from supplying the steelworks, Messer will also provide liquid gases to the local market for its shipbuilding industry and automotive suppliers.

Philippines, map, asia

Philippines, map, asia

Philippines

A new nitrogen liquefaction unit (NLU) in the Philippines is expected to go on-stream by 2018, designed, engineered and constructed by Linde.

Linde Philippines, Inc. previously announced plans to invest $27.7m in the installation and upgrade of two separate facilities in the Philippines, under which it will upgrade an existing air separation unit (ASU) and add the new NLU at its Apalit Pampanga site, north of Manila.

Once complete, the manufacturing facilities at the site will be able to produce more than 400 tonnes per day of liquefied gases, predominantly to support fast-growing electronics, food and beverage and healthcare sectors throughout the country.