French industrial gases group Air Liquide has announced that it will acquire the largest oxygen production site globally, located in Secunda, South Africa, from integrated energy and chemical company Sasol.
The Secunda site contains 16 air separation units with an installed capacity of 42,000 tons of oxygen per day, which Air Liquide previously built and sold to Sasol. Air Liquide will assume operation of these units, along with one unit that it already operates.
“The acquisition and operation of all the oxygen production units of the Sasol Secunda site represents a key step in the long term relationship we have had with Sasol for 40 years, and we are pleased to be able to reinforce it for the years to come,” said Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide.
“It will enable new teams to join those of the group already present on site. In line with our strategy and our know-how, this operation illustrates our intent to act as of now in favor of the climate and local ecosystems.”
In addition to operating the units, Air Liquide aims to modernize the facility through a multi-year plan and initial investment of approximately $515 million, as well as to reduce CO² emissions by 30-40% by 2030.
“Climate action is at the heart of Air Liquide’s growth strategy and our Climate Objectives are the most ambitious of our sector,” Potier added. “Our capacity for intervention is wide and goes from renewable energy-based hydrogen or oxygen production to energy efficiency programs on existing sites. Solutions exist and we will continue to champion these worldwide. Now is the time to act.”
Sasol will work in partnership with Air Liquide to achieve decarbonization objectives and lower the company’s carbon footprint.
“We have embarked on a journey to reposition Sasol of the future as a more resilient and sustainable enterprise,” said Fleetwood Grobler, Sasol President and CEO. “In the short-term, a number of measures has been developed and one of these measures is the acceleration of our asset divestment program to streamline our portfolio by focusing on core assets. While this transaction is in line with this review and has important commercial benefits there are very clear and compelling strategic objectives – one of the most significant being the pursuit of decarbonization not only for the ASU operations but for the whole of Sasol’s Secunda Operations.”
Final agreements will be finalized in the coming months, subject to approval by the relevant authorities.