South Africa: Air Liquide to Acquire World’s Largest Oxygen Production Site from Sasol

The final agreements are expected to be reached in the coming months and are subject to approval by the relevant authorities.
Publish Date
29th July 2020
Read Time
3 minutes

Sasol has made another remarkable progress with its asset disposal program as Air Liquide is the latest company to purchase from the South African integrated energy and chemical company.

The French industrial gases group would be the new operators of the world’s biggest oxygen production site, with sixteen (16) air separation units on the site, located in Secunda, South Africa. The site has an installed capacity of 42,000 tonnes per day of oxygen.

Air Liquide said it plans to modernise the facilities in an initial 8.5bn South African Rand investment. It also aims to provide a solution to reduce CO2 emissions that arises from the production of oxygen, in coordination with Sasol, by 30% to $05 by 2030.

Air Liquide built and sold the site to Sasol and it is buying it from Sasol again, in addition to the unit it directly operates. The Frech company has been present on the site since 1979.

The final agreements are expected to be reached in the coming months and are subject to approval by the relevant authorities.

Commenting on the new development, Fleetwood Grobler, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Sasol said, “We have embarked on a journey to reposition Sasol of the future as a more resilient and sustainable enterprise.”

“In the short-term, a number of measures has been developed and one of these measures is the acceleration of our asset divestment programme 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 decarbonisation not only for the ASU operations but for the whole of Sasol’s Secunda Operations.”

Speaking on the acquisition, the Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Air Liquide, Benoît Potier said, “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.”

“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 favour of the climate and local ecosystems.”

“It will allow both Air Liquide and Sasol to focus on their core business, combining operational efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions.”

“Climate action is at the heart of Air Liquide’s growth strategy and our Climate Objectives are the most ambitious of our sector.”

“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.”

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