Air Products, a global industrial gas company, and Sonatrach, a state-owned oil and gas company in Africa, have signed two gas production and delivery agreements. Conducted through both companies’ joint venture (JV), HELIOS, the deals have a combined value of US $100 million.
Through the deal, Sonatrach will recover helium from two existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities (GL1Z and GL3Z), and that helium will be delivered to HELIOS’ existing liquid helium plant in Arzew. The HELIOS plant is an important part of Air Products’ total global helium source portfolio, and the new feedstock will increase the amount of liquid helium produced by the JV plant.
“The potential for helium production in Algeria is significant thanks to its large, established natural gas industry and LNG operations,” said Walter Nelson, vice president and general manager–Global Helium at Air Products. “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.”
Another important component of Air Products’ and Sonatrach’s agreement is that Air Products will design and build, and HELIOS will own and operate, two new air separation plants in Algeria. One will be located in the Hassi Messaoud District, with the second in Arzew. Once in operation, these plants will produce nitrogen, oxygen and argon, which will be supplied to the Algerian and Maghreb markets through Sonatrach’s subsidiary, COGIZ.
“Underpinned by our strong relationship with Sonatrach and successful track record of execution, Air Products has built a solid platform in Algeria from which to grow,” noted Ahmed Hababou, vice president, Southern Europe and Maghreb, at Air Products. “We are very pleased to make our investments jointly with Sonatrach and build on the success of our partnership in HELIOS. These latest agreements show our continued commitment and willingness to invest in the Algerian industrial gas market, bringing greater competitiveness, security of supply and enhanced service to our customers.”
These latest agreements are part of Sonatrach’s 2030 Vision for growth, which includes a multi-billion dollar investment program to expand Algeria’s energy sector and infrastructure.
Abdelmoumen Ould KADDOUR, President and CEO of Sonatrach, said, “Delivering these industrial gas production projects with our renowned international partner, Air Products, is a key part of Sonatrach’s diversification strategy. It will allow us to better value our resources and provide us with secure and reliable industrial gases to meet our needs and those of our customers.”
Air Products has built a solid foundation in Algeria since entering the market over 40 years ago. The company’s proprietary process technology and main cryogenic heat exchangers are in operation at Sonatrach’s LNG facilities in Skikda and Arzew, with both facilities making up a significant portion of Algeria’s LNG exports. Additionally, both Air Products’ and Sonatrach’s successful HELIOS joint venture has produced helium for the European market for more than 25 years.