Building on its joint venture company in Tianjin, China and the prospering market in the city, Air Liquide has revealed the start-up of a long term supply of industrial gases to Sinopec Tianjin Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (TPCC) and an eventual investment of around €45m.
Air Liquide created a 50/50 joint venture company earlier this year with TPCC in Dagang Tianjin (Air Liquide TPCC), which has just taken over the air separation units (ASU) as well as the associated teams of the existing TPCC facility. It is also building a new 1,000 tpd ASU necessary for the new TPCC refinery and ethylene cracker, with the new ASU unit being manufactured by Air Liquide Hangzhou - the company’s engineering centre in China which provides both high reliability and high energy efficiency in line with Chinese government objectives.
Located 120km southeast of Beijing and with a population of more than 10 million people, Tianjin is one of the most dynamic cities in China and has a very long commercial and industrial history thanks to its ideal location close to Beijing on the Bohai Bay. Becoming the third national economic development centre, after Guangdong and Shanghai, Air Liquide has been steadily developing the Tianjin market.

The group was first present in Tianjin in 1995 with an ASU and two hydrogen units. In April 2007, Air Liquide commissioned another new unit in Tianjin located in Tianjin Binhai New Development District to supply LG Bohai Chemical Co. Ltd, while its joint venture with Tianjin Soda (Air Liquide Yongli) is currently investing in two new ASU’s of 2,000 tpd each to supply oxygen and nitrogen to Tianjin Soda. The units will start at the beginning of 2009 and the total investment of Air Liquide in Tianjin is estimated to have already reached more than €200m – with this expected to increase further.

Jean-Pierre Duprieu, Senior Vice-President in charge of Asia Pacific and member of Air Liquide’s Executive Committee, commented, “We are very pleased to start this new operation in Tianjin with TPCC, which has decided to outsource its industrial gas needs. It opens new possibilities for Air Liquide to cooperate further with Sinopec.”

“We have now reached a very significant presence in Tianjin and we are continually strengthening it in this fast growing market. Air Liquide will continue to accelerate its investments in China with at least €300m per year from 2007-2011, three times more per year than during the 2004-2006 period.”

Xu Hongxing, Chairman of TPCC, said enthusiastically, “It is the first joint venture for TPCC and it constitutes a milestone in the cooperation between Sinopec and Air Liquide. We believe that it is a good initiative to outsource our industrial gases to a specialist. We see a bright future for our partnership.”