2020 RPME Top 30 EPC Contractors: Air Liquide

Published: 26 April 2020 - 3 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery

In January 2020, Air Liquide Arabia (ALAR) announced that it kickstarted commercial operations at its flagship pipeline network in Yanbu, on the West Coast of Saudi Arabia, by supplying hydrogen to SAMREF, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Mobil Yanbu Refining Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation.

As one of the Middle East’s leading refineries, SAMREF represents ALAR’s first customer on the pipeline network, which will also start supplying three other major industrial companies in Yanbu Industrial City in the coming months. The event is also a key milestone for ALAR’s hydrogen production site in Yanbu within Yasref. ALAR will produce the hydrogen supplied to SAMREF from its global-scale hydrogen production site located on the premises of YASREF refinery, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and China Petrochemical Corporation (SINOPEC). This landmark event comes as ALAR continues to demonstrate its commitment to the kingdom and Vision 2030.

With its market leading hydrogen infrastructure on both coasts of Saudi Arabia, in Yanbu and Jubail, ALAR is not only bringing infrastructure and expertise in gas supply solutions and technology, but also driving local investments, talent opportunities and the development of the local supply chain.

Francois-Xavier Haulle, general manager at Air Liquide Arabia, commented on the significant milestone for the company: “ALAR keeps executing its plan in the kingdom and is delivering value daily to its customers. I am grateful to YASREF and SAMREF for their trust and to the Royal Commission for its continuous support. ALAR is committed to expand further its investments and deliver further synergies around the circular economy created by its hydrogen pipeline infrastructure.”

In July 2019, Air Liquide signed a long-term agreement with Gulf Coast Growth Ventures (GCGV), a 50/50 joint venture between ExxonMobil and SABIC, to supply oxygen and nitrogen from its industrial gas pipeline network to GCGV’s planned ethane cracker facility located near Corpus Christi, in Texas. To support the new agreement and additional volumes, Air Liquide plans to invest nearly $140mn to build a new world-scale air separation unit (ASU) in Bay City, Texas, and related infrastructure investments.

Air Liquide will supply 2,000 tonnes per day of oxygen and 900 tonnes per day of nitrogen to GCGV’s planned 1.8 million tonnes per year ethane cracker facility. Air Liquide will also add nearly eight miles of pipeline to connect GCGV to its Gulf Coast Pipeline System, strengthening Air Liquide’s extensive capabilities throughout the Gulf Coast region of the US, and its position in the growing industrial basin of Corpus Christi, where it has been present since the mid-1930s. In addition to delivering full requirements for oxygen and nitrogen to GCGV’s new petrochemical plant, the production capacity from the Bay City ASU, and its connection to Air Liquide’s expansive pipeline network along the Gulf Coast, will enable Air Liquide to retire older, less efficient assets.

By modernising its asset fleet, Air Liquide provides enhanced competitiveness to its customers over the long term and reduces the carbon intensity of its operations, hence contributing to achieving its 2025 Climate Objectives. With Air Liquide’s ability to provide large volumes of oxygen and nitrogen via its integrated production and supply network, customers can benefit from a safe, flexible and reliable supply to meet their growing demands.

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