Air Products unveils new Gulf hydrogen pipeline

By Billy Thinnes
Technical Editor

PASADENA, Texas -- These are active and exciting times for Air Products. The company recently completed its Gulf Coast Connection Pipeline (GCCP) project and also started up operations at a dynamic customer service center. 

The pipeline, the customer service center and an operations center are all integrated and each play crucial roles in the company’s supply chain management. 

This integration and specific details about each project were discussed at a dedication event on Thursday at Air Products’ facility in Pasadena.

“Our Operations Service Center (OSC) and Customer Service Center (CSC) work hand-in-hand," Wilbur Mok, Air Products’ vice president for North American Tonnage Gases, told the audience at the Pasadena event.

 "The OSC oversees the daily production at our plants, and the CSC works with customers and communicates with the OSC on product need and when to supply it. The Centers support most of our North America industrial facilities and also our new 600-mile Gulf Coast pipeline. The Centers are very important resources both in meeting customer demand and operating our industrial facilities safely and efficiently."

Air Products formally dedicated its GCCP this week. The pipeline stretches from the Houston Ship Channel in Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana. In August it began supplying over 1.2 billion cubic feet of hydrogen per day to refinery and petrochemical customers. Air Products had operated two hydrogen pipeline systems in Texas and Louisiana before joining them with a new 180-mile segment. 

The 600-mile pipeline span is fed by over 20 Air Products hydrogen production facilities.

“The benefits of the pipeline for customers are already evident," said Jeff Byrne, vice president and general manager for Tonnage Gases at Air Products. "The most recent hurricane showed we can deliver hydrogen from Texas to meet customer demand in Louisiana.

"We’ve also signed new business for increased product supply that allows hydrogen in the pipeline to be directed to multiple customer locations in the both states. The pipeline is truly a competitive advantage for us, and a source of comfort in terms of supply reliability and flexibility for our customers."

Air Products had established a new website specifically tracking the progress on the GCCP project from its inception. The website detailed several metrics on the project and challenges faced. Some of this information included:

• Designing and developing a feasible route minimizing impacts to local governments, communities, the environment, and strictly adhering to Air Products’ critical safety requirements
• Securing 1,085 permanent landowner right-of-ways and over 300 temporary agreements
• Obtaining numerous environmental permits and hundreds of non-environmental permits
• Overcoming numerous construction challenges including three US Army Corps of Engineers flood protection levees within the Atchafalaya Basin Swamp, and rivers, streams and highway crossings, as well as managing the multiple changes to the design route and securing permit addendums as a result
• Completing over 100,000 feet of directional drilling
• Conducting more than 25,000 welds
• Installing more than 24,000 pipe sections that were each 40 feet in length.

Before Mr. Mok and Mr. Byrne offered their remarks State Representative Barbara Legler (R-Pasedena), read a declaration she introduced on behalf of Air Products, officially recognizing and honoring the completion of the pipeline. 

Other assorted government officials were also present, including State Senator Mike Jackson (R-LaPorte).

In addition to the Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline system, Air Products also has several hydrogen pipeline networks operating around the world, including in the US in Southern California; in Canada in Sarnia, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta; and in The Netherlands in Rotterdam.

Hydrogen is widely used in petroleum refining processes to remove impurities found in crude oil such as sulfur, olefins and aromatics to meet the product fuels specifications.

Removing these components allows gasoline and diesel to burn cleaner and thus makes hydrogen a critical component in the production of cleaner fuels needed by modern, efficient internal combustion engines.

For more information on the project, visit the Air Products website by clicking here.


Cover photo: The Gulf Coast Connection Pipeline stretches from the Houston Ship Channel to New Orleans, Louisiana, supplying over 1.2 billion cubic feet of hydrogen per day to refiners.

Photo 1: An interior shot of Air Products’ new Customer Service Center in Pasadena, Texas.

Photo 2: During construction of the pipeline, Air Products secured 1,085 landowner right-of-ways and over 300 temporary agreements.

Photo 3: Assembled elected officials and Air Products executives at the dedication ceremony in Pasadena.

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