Air Liquide is further strengthening its position in Germany by signing a major long-term supply contract with ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG in the Rhine-Ruhr area, one of the largest and leading industrial basins in Europe.

Deliveries under the agreement include 4,600 tonnes per day of oxygen, plus nitrogen and argon, which will be supplied to ThyssenKrupp´s steelworks based in the Duisburg cluster, the largest steel production region in Europe, supplying notably the needs of the automotive industry in Germany.

Oxygen, nitrogen and argon are required by the steel industry for a number of applications, ranging from air enrichment for blast furnaces to oxygen steelmaking processes. The use of these gases helps to improve the productivity and energy performance of steelworks whilst reducing atmospheric emissions.

The gases will be supplied via Air Liquide’s 500 kilometer local pipeline network, which already serves customers in the steel, chemical and petrochemical industries in the Rhine-Ruhr area. This pipeline is fed by Air Liquide Air Separation Units, including Germany’s largest oxygen production plant (with a capacity of 2,400 tonnes per day), which was started up by Air Liquide in 2012.

A pipeline gas supply operated non-stop is the most efficient and reliable way of delivering gases to large industrial customers. The Air Liquide group operates more than 9,000km of gas pipelines all over the world.

Dr. Herbert Eichelkraut, Member of the Executive Board of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG, said, “As a producer of premium carbon steel flat products, ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe fulfills its customers’ demanding requirements. Our high quality standards as well as our large-scale production facilities also imply enormous challenges for the industrial gas supplier. Therefore, ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe has chosen Air Liquide and its production network as one of its strategic partners.”

Guy Salzgeber, Vice-President, Western Europe and member of Air Liquide’s Executive Committee, commented, “This new contract marks a further step in our longstanding cooperative relationship with ThyssenKrupp, one of the leading producers of steel in Europe. We are proud to have been selected as a key provider in the metal industry and look forward to bolstering our relationship with Germany’s largest steelmaker. This milestone illustrates our strategy of expanding in industrial basins and our ability to capitalise on our existing assets to gain new markets.”