What is the reach of Air Liquide in the United States and Mexico?

We are world leaders in industrial gases, technologies, and services for industry and healthcare. Industrial gases are typically non-combustible gases. We take the air we breathe and separate it into its three main components: nitrogen, oxygen, and argon. This way, we can purify these components and offer them to our customers, either in liquid form (by truck) or gaseous form (through pipelines for large customers or cylinders for smaller ones). We also produce and market other gases such as hydrogen, helium, and specialty gases. We have more than 50,000 employees in over 80 countries and serve over 2 million customers and patients. Oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen have been at the heart of our activities since the creation of Air Liquide in 1902. Our revenues in 2013 were around $20 billion. Air Liquide is headquartered in Paris, while the Americas headquarters are in Houston. Approximately 23% of our gas and services sales come from South and North America. In the US, we have about 5,000 employees, 200 facilities, and over 140 industrial gas plants. We also operate two oxygen and nitrogen pipeline systems in the country, through Louisiana and Texas. We supply refineries and petrochemical plants along these systems.

What are the key services you offer to the energy industry?

We cover all parts of the energy sector. For example, we are in the refining industry, where oxygen can increase capacity, whether in a sulfur recovery unit or a fluidized catalytic cracking unit; or nitrogen for pipeline purging; or hydrogen for hydrotreating processes. From an environmental perspective, our gases can be used to reduce emissions. In the upstream oil and gas sector, we offer carbon dioxide and nitrogen for enhanced oil recovery, and for well services, including stimulation treatments such as hydraulic fracturing and foamed acid treatments. Fracturing is typically done with water, but we can offer nitrogen foam that can be more productive than water, depending on the reservoir. In the marine part, there are various applications, such as our Floxal technology, which serves to produce nitrogen on platforms.

You entered Mexico in 2011. How much has Air Liquide invested in the country since then?

We started in northern Mexico with a headquarters in Monterrey. Our focus in Mexico is with a long-term vision. The first phase is to reactivate production in the north, and the second phase is to enter the rest of the country. We started in the city of Monclova with an air separation unit (ASU) for our client Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA), Mexico’s largest steelmaker. Our second investment was in Pesqueria, near the airport in Monterrey. We invested in an ASU and a hydrogen plant for another steel client, Ternium. Then we invested again in Monclova in a hydrogen plant for AHMSA. We acquired another ASU in Monclova, and we are currently investing in another gas plant, which will be the fourth one we have. Adding all these investments together, it is more than $225 million.

After the steel business, what is your plan to serve the energy industry in Mexico?

Our mission is to grow with the Mexican market for the energy industry. We plan to continue investing in infrastructure, technology, and innovation to meet the needs of our customers. We believe that our solutions can help Mexico achieve its energy goals and contribute to sustainable development.

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