Qatar: Dual Success in Helium Market


While helium is scarce worldwide, the helium market is growing steadily, by an
average of +4% a year, due to the development of technology in many market
segments such as medical, electronics, fiber optics, space etc. Qatar has been a
major helium producer since 2005, and its position in the Middle East makes it an
ideal supplier for both Europe and Asia.

In this context, Air Liquide announces that it has been awarded a contract by
RasGas Company Limited on behalf of Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company
Limited (3) and Qatargas Liquefied Gas Company (2, 3 and 4), for a large turn-key
helium extraction, purification and liquefaction unit to be installed in
Ras Laffan, Qatar*. The new unit will be the largest in the world, with a production
capacity of 38 million m3 of helium per year. The technology used to purify and
liquefy helium at very low temperature (-269°C) is a proprietary Air Liquide
advanced technology. For this project, Air Liquide will provide the largest helium
liquefier in the world, which will be operated by RasGas.

This project arises out of the existing partnership between Air Liquide, RasGas and
Qatargas, which was formed for the successful development of a previous helium
unit on the same site in 2003. The combined production of these two units will be
58 million m3 per year, making Qatar a leading producer of helium, with 25% of
worldwide production.

Moreover, under a long-term agreement with Rasgas and Qatargas, Air Liquide will
be entitled to purchase 50% of the helium volumes produced by this new unit.
Access to this major helium source, combined with the acquisition of the
international supplier and distributor Pure Helium in 2008, will position the Group as
one of the main players in the worldwide helium market.

François Darchis, Senior Vice-President, Air Liquide Group, and a member of the
Executive Committee, commented: "Air Liquide is particularly proud of this
worldwide first, which demonstrates our capacity to meet major complex
needs thanks to our industrial and technical expertise. Qatar is a strategic
supply source of helium for the years to come and Air Liquide will
significantly strengthen its worldwide helium supply position as well as its
leadership in the Middle East."

Air Liquide is the world leader in gases for industry, health and the environment, and is present in over 75 countries with 43,000 employees. Oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and rare gases have been at the core of Air Liquide's activities since its creation in 1902. Using these molecules, Air Liquide continuously reinvents its business, anticipating the needs of current and future markets. The Group innovates to enable
progress, to achieve dynamic growth and a consistent performance.

Innovative technologies that curb polluting emissions, lower industry's energy use, recover and reuse natural resources or develop the energies of tomorrow, such as hydrogen, biofuels or photovoltaic energy... Oxygen for hospitals, homecare, fighting nosocomial infections... Air Liquide combines many products and technologies to develop valuable applications and services not only for its customers but also
for society.

A partner for the long term, Air Liquide relies on employee commitment, customer trust and shareholder support to pursue its vision of sustainable, competitive growth. The diversity of Air Liquide's teams, businesses, markets and geographic presence provides a solid and sustainable base for its development and strengthens its ability to push back its own limits, conquer new territories and build its future.

Air Liquide explores the best that air can offer to preserve life, staying true to its sustainable development approach. In 2008, the Group's revenues amounted to 13.1 billion, of which almost 80% were generated outside France. Air Liquide is listed on the Paris Euronext stock exchange (compartment A) and is a member of the CAC 40 and Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 indexes.

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