Why Air Liquide is an indispensable partner for the industry

The largest industrial companies in Benelux count on Air Liquide for their industrial gases every day.
Large Industries
14 August 2017

“Our vast gas pipeline network obviously plays an important role in this context,” says Philippe Ritzky, Commercial Director for the Large Industries segment. “But we go much further than that. We build strategic partnerships in which we work together to seek synergies, create value, share risks and exchange expertise.”

Air Liquide’s Large Industries segment supplies a wide range of gases to the largest industrial companies in the Benelux. These include chemical companies such as BASF, steel producers such as Arcelor Mittal and the Shell, Exxon and Total refineries.

Security of supply guaranteed by Air Liquide’s own production and pipeline network

“Customers of this size are primarily looking for maximum security of supply. After all, production stoppages are very costly,” reports Philippe Ritzky. “A direct connection to our pipeline network is, of course, the best guarantee for a continuous supply of high-quality industrial gases.”

Air Liquide’s gas pipeline network covers a total of 2,225 kilometres. It connects the ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp, Ghent and Zeebrugge and stretches to the south as far as the Bergen and Charleroi regions as well as to Lille and Dunkirk in northern France. The network is continuously supplied by eight production sites, which produce oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2), argon (Ar), hydrogen (H2), carbon monoxide (CO) and syngas (H2+CO).

“Many major refineries are directly connected to our network since they need large amounts of hydrogen in their processes,” notes Ritzky. “The number of connected sites is also increasing in other sectors as well. For instance, as part of our renewed contract with ArcelorMittal, we are expanding our pipeline network so that the Ghent site can also be connected. And we recently established a connection to Shell’s facility in Rotterdam.”


Added value through strategic partnerships

Air Liquide is also establishing strategic partnerships with companies that are not within reach of the current pipeline network. “For example, we build and operate industrial gas production units on behalf of our customers,” states Ritzky. “Companies of a certain size could do that themselves, but it would require a major upfront investment. Their problem is compounded by the fact that such installations must almost always be oversized to absorb peaks in consumption and meet future growth requirements.”

By partnering with Air Liquide, they significantly reduce their cost of ownership. “At the same time, we are able to combine our investment with production volumes for other customers, thus sharing the capacity of an installation. The larger scale also makes the operation more cost-efficient and temporary peaks less problematic.”

Air Liquide also offers many other important services and solutions. They help customers process the so-called off-gases of their production processes. This is accomplished in Rotterdam, for example, where off-gas streams from a local refinery are used to power our hydrogen production plant. This is of course a more environmentally sustainable solution than flaring off such gases as well as a more efficient and economical method. Such examples clearly show that Air Liquide is far more than just a gas supplier for its industrial customers.

“We are very proud of the fact that we always strive for strategic partnerships – seeking synergies, looking for proactive solutions, and helping customers work more efficiently and sustainably,” concludes Philippe Ritzky.


Contact our Large Industries specialist, Philippe Ritzky: ✉ philippe.ritzky@airliquide.com