Airgas Inc. plans to build a new 450 ton-per-day liquid carbon dioxide plant in the greater Houston area to replace its plant at the Shell Deer Park Refinery complex, which is expected to close late this year. The Radnor, Pa.-based company has entered into long-term agreements with affiliates of Denbury Resources Inc., Plano, Texas, to transport and deliver feedstock of raw carbon dioxide to the new facility.

"The construction of this facility represents Airgas' commitment to this very important and strategic market," says Phil Filer, president of Airgas Carbonic and Airgas Dry Ice. "With our long-term feedstock agreements, we will be able to serve existing and secure new carbon dioxide customers in the petrochemical industry, as well as the traditional food chilling and beverage carbonation industries. We will also be supplying liquid carbon dioxide to our dry ice facility in LaPorte, Texas."

Airgas expects that construction will begin shortly on its new carbon dioxide purification and liquefaction plant and will be completed in the fall. According to Filer, the new plant will repurpose many of the existing assets from the current Deer Park facility, including storage tanks, truck-loading equipment, scales and analytical equipment. Current Airgas production and distribution personnel will be relocated to the new facility.