France’s Air Liquide to construct ASU, SMR facilities in Mexico

France-based Air Liquide has entered into an agreement with Ternium and Tenigal to build and operate an air separation unit (ASU) and a steam methane reformer (SMR) at Ternium's new facility in Pesqueria, Mexico.

Air Liquide will also supply nitrogen and hydrogen to the steel manufacturers, as part of the agreement.

"In February 2011, Air Liquide entered into the Mexican market to tap the growing demands in the region."

The ASU facility will generate 350mtpd of oxygen and nitrogen, both in liquid and gaseous forms, while the SMR plant will produce nearly 275Nm3/hr of gaseous hydrogen.

The units will feature standardised and modular design, which provides compact layout, cost efficiency and simpler operations and maintenance benefits.

The units, worth $35m, will come on stream by mid-2013, along with the launch of Ternium and Tenigal facilities.

Ternium's new facility will include a cold-rolling mill and a galvanising plant, according to Air Liquide.

The galvanising plant is being developed by Tenigal, a joint venture owned 51% by Ternium and 49% by Nippon Steel.

Michael Graff, Air Liquide president and CEO, said the company is pleased to expand its business in Mexico alongside companies such as Ternium and Tenigal, as it reflects upon company's growing presence in northern Mexico.

''This country is the 15th largest economy in the world, and growth in its industrial gas market is expected to continue well into the future due to robust industrial and manufacturing activity in the northern states,'' Graff added.

Maximo Vedoya, Ternium Mexico CEO, said: "The installation of these ASU and SMR facilities shows confidence towards our joint project with Nippon Steel in Pesqueria, Mexico.''

In February 2011, Air Liquide entered into the Mexican market to tap the growing demands in the region.