Air Liquide Enters Colombian Gases Market
French industrial gases producer Air Liquide will build and operate a new carbon dioxide plant together with a cogeneration facility in Colombia following a contract with major bottling company Coca-Cola FEMSA. The facility will be located in the Permanent Free Trade Zone FEMSA industrial park in Tocancipa, Cundinamarca, near the capital city of Bogota. Commercial production is expected to start in late 2016.
The investment of around €40 million marks Air Liquide’s entry into the Colombian industrial gases market. The company already supplies industrial gases and utilities to two of Coca-Cola FEMSA’s bottling facilities in Brazil, notably in Itabirito and Jundiai.
Under the terms of the agreement, Air Liquide will supply carbon dioxide as well as nitrogen, electricity, refrigerated water, compressed air and steam to Coca-Cola FEMSA’s bottling facility in Tocancipa, its largest in the country. Additional carbon dioxide will be available for the local market.
Air Liquide said Colombia, which is Latin America’s fourth largest economy, has attractive growth potential supported by robust industrial and manufacturing activity, a rapidly expanding economy and abundant natural resources. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) projects economic growth of 3% this year in Colombia.
Commenting on the move, Michael Graff, senior vice president for the Americas and a member of Air Liquide’s executive committee, said Colombia provided a major opportunity as the company further expands in Latin America.
Separately, Air Liquide’s engineering and construction business, Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions, has been chosen by India’s Bharat Petroleum to supply acrylic acid technology for a project in Kochi, Kerala.
The contractor will supply technology owned by Lurgi/Nippon Kayaku as well as basic engineering, technical services and proprietary catalyst and equipment. Capacity details and a start-up date were not disclosed.
Air Liquide Global E&C said the contract follows two successful projects using the technology. One is located in Huizhou, Guangdong province in China, where the 140,000 t/y ester-grade acrylic acid facility is one of the world’s largest single-train plants.