Air Products and Sonatrach Agree Gases Projects

22.11.2018 -

US industrial gases group Air Products has signed two production and delivery deals with Algerian government-owned energy group Sonatrach. The agreements, both of which will be conducted through their Helios joint venture, have a combined value of $100 million.

Under the first agreement, Sonatrach will recover helium from two existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities (GL1Z and GL3Z) and deliver the gas to Helios’s plant in Arzew, increasing capacity for liquid helium.

Commenting on the  project, Walter Nelson, vice president and general manager, global helium at Air Products, said: “The potential for helium production in Algeria is significant thanks to its large, established natural gas industry and LNG operations. Connecting the Helios plant to Sonatrach’s other LNG facilities in Arzew is a further illustration of how unlocking Algeria’s helium potential can further diversify the helium supply chain and improve the reliability of supply for customers in Africa and Europe.”

The second agreement will see Air Products design and build two new air separation plants in Algeria, both of Helios will own and operate. One will be located in the Hassi Messaoud district with the other in Arzew. The plant will produce nitrogen, oxygen and argon, which will be supplied to markets in Algeria and the rest of the Maghreb region (Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Mauritania) through Sonatrach’s subsidiary, Cogiz.

Sonatrach’s president and CEO, Abdelmoumen Ould Kaddour, said the projects are a key part of the company’s diversification strategy, which will allow it to better value its resources and provide secure and reliable industrial gases to meet its needs and those of its customers. The state-owned group has embarked on a multi-billion dollar investment program as part of its 2030 vision for growth to expand Algeria’s energy sector and infrastructure.

Earlier this month, Air Products announced it was buying General Electric’s gasification business, a move that will expand its synthesis portfolio and boost its position in the global market.