Minister Molewa together with SASOL and Air Liquide inaugurate World’s First Largest Oxygen Production plant in Secunda

Event date: 
2018-03-26 (All day)

Introduction and ackground
Air Liquide's partnership with SASOL
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Related links / sources 


Introduction and background

Air Liquide recently started the world’s largest oxygen production unit for Sasol, and invested around €200 million for the construction of this Air Separation Unit (ASU) in Secunda, with a total production capacity of 5,000 tonnes of oxygen per day (equivalent to 5,800 tonnes per day at sea level). Owned and operated by Air Liquide, it is the first ASU that Sasol has chosen to outsource to a specialist of industrial gas production at this site.

Located in Sasol’s Secunda site (around 140 km East of Johannesburg), the new ASU supplies Sasol with large quantities of oxygen used for production of fuels and chemicals.

The start-up of the air separation unit represents a new milestone in the partnership between Air Liquide and Sasol which brings to 17 the number of ASU’s delivered by Air Liquide over the last 40 years, with a total oxygen production capacity greater than 45,000 tonnes per day. It is also the first time ever at Secunda, that Sasol has chosen to outsource an oxygen supply contract, thus recognizing Air Liquide’s expertise in the field of oxygen production and underscoring the importance of this long-term relationship.

The unit was designed and built by Air Liquide’s Engineering & Construction team using leading edge technologies that meet the highest standards of safety, reliability and efficiency, while increasing production capacity. The ASU's design is based on Air Liquide’s proprietary technologies including several first of its kind innovations in the air compression process, which allow for an annual electricity consumption reduction of more than 20%, contributing to reducing the customer’s carbon footprint.

As scheduled, the new ASU has been completed in less than three years from design to commissioning. This ASU also provides Air Liquide with a new source of liquid gases to supply the growing industrial gas market in South Africa.


Investment benefits


This green field investment will makes a meaningful contribution to a cleaner environment by consuming less electricity and reducing carbon emissions.  The new air separation unit uses 20% less electricity which equates to avoiding approximately 200 000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per annum.  The unit has capacity to produce 5 000 tons of oxygen per day. 

The addition of this new plant will improve the ability to supply oxygen and argon to the industrial gas market in South Africa.  I am further informed that the production unit meets the highest standards of safety, reliability and efficiency, and includes first-of-its-kind innovation in the air compression process.

Government welcomes such investments and partnerships as it seeks to build productive capacity and capability.  Government acknowledges the significant role played by Sasol in attracting this two hundred million euro foreign direct investment by Air Liquide to South Africa.

This substantial investment will go some way in creating jobs, both during the plant’s construction and operation.

The establishment of this plant holds profound environmental benefits for Sasol and the country and the rest of the world, in the long-term. This development will most certainly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and create a healthier and cleaner environment for all our people


Air Liquide's partnership with SASOL 


Through this agreement, Air Liquide built, owns and operates a 5000 tonne per day air separation train to supply oxygen and nitrogen to Sasol’s proprietary synthetic fuels and chemicals manufacturing process. This is the 17th train to be built at Sasol’s Secunda complex.

Using the latest air separation technology and economies of scale, this train is set to be the most energy efficient oxygen train on the Secunda site with a significantly reduced impact on the environment. The oxygen capacity created enables Sasol to operate this complex up to the middle of the century, which is a cornerstone of the group’s Project 2050 strategy.

The contract represents a significant milestone in the 40-year partnership with Air Liquide, as it is the first time that Sasol outsources oxygen needs to a specialist of industrial gas production at the Secunda complex.

Air Liquide is very pleased to be strengthening its relationship with its longstanding business partner, Sasol. The c

utting edge technology which will be implemented on this project confirms Air Liquide’s leadership in oxygen production technology, and its an achievement of another major milestone in the history of the Group.


Media content 


Minister Edna Molewa’s speech on the occasion of the of the inauguration of the World’s largest oxygen production unit at Sasol, Secunda

It gives me great pleasure to be part of this celebration where we are inaugurating Air Liquide’s 17th Oxygen Train, the World’s largest oxygen production unit here in Secunda, Mpumalanga today.   

This occasion marks one of the great strides in our ongoing efforts as a country to encourage both local and international investments to grow the economy, and ultimately improve the lives of South Africans.

We would like to congratulate Air Liquide and SASOL on this partnership, which we understand goes back several decades.  This partnership demonstrates the confidence by Air Liquide and SASOL in South Africa and is important in contributing to our industrialization objectives and economic development in the area.



Related links / sources


Air Liquide - Creative Oxygen


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