September 19, 2005 Lehigh Valley, Pa.
Air Products announced today that portions of its New Orleans, La. industrial gas complex, which sustained extensive damage from Hurricane Katrina, should begin operations within the coming months, with substantial operations anticipated by the end of the calendar year.
The New Orleans facility, which sustained wind and water damage, has reported that most of the water has been pumped out and road access has been restored. With more work crews now able to access the site, assessments are being completed and initial repair work has begun. The pace of work will depend on restoring electrical power and natural gas, receiving timely repair supplies, and still other unknown factors.
"We made a lot of progress last week that allowed us to estimate the resumption of operations at New Orleans," said Joe Pietrantonio, vice president, Americas Operations and leader of the company's Hurricane Katrina response team. "It is a tremendous undertaking with a lot of unknowns at this point, however, the commitment of our employees across the company to help in any way with the impact of Hurricane Katrina has been incredible. They are very focused on and concerned about our customers and their affected co-workers."
The company also announced that it has secured alternate feedgas sources and has re-established partial operations at its Sarnia, Ontario, Canada production facility. Originally shut down due to a planned suspension of a supplier's feedgas, the plant resumed partial operations this past weekend and is producing some quantities of liquid hydrogen.
On August 31, 2005, Air Products declared force majeure regarding liquid hydrogen from New Orleans and Sarnia—plants which represent approximately 90 percent of the company's liquid hydrogen production in North America. Last week, the company reported that it was able to secure additional liquid hydrogen supplies from other sources and find different ways to improve the shortage through product management. As a result, Air Products has been able to supply some product to the majority of its customers. However, the force majeure remains in place because the company expects that its normal liquid hydrogen supply capabilities will remain materially constrained and disrupted for the next several months.
Air Products is very thankful that it has been able to account for all of its employees in the New Orleans area. The company is working to support them and will be able to bring affected employees back to work. Air Products also extends its gratitude to its customers, suppliers, government organizations—in particular, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Army Corps of Engineers for their assistance in de-watering the New Orleans site—industry peers and all of its employees for their active support and understanding during this extraordinary situation.
Air Products (NYSE:APD) serves customers in technology, energy, healthcare and industrial markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of products, services and solutions, providing atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials and chemical intermediates. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment and is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability and FTSE4Good Indices. The company has annual revenues of $7.4 billion, operations in over 30 countries, and nearly 20,000 employees around the globe. For more information, visit www.airproducts.com.
NOTE: The forward-looking statements contained in this release are based on current expectations regarding important risk factors. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed. Factors that might cause forward-looking statements to differ materially from actual results include those specifically referenced as future events or outcomes that the company anticipates, as well as, among other things, overall economic and business conditions different than those currently anticipated and demand for Air Products' goods and services during that time; competitive factors in the industries in which it competes; interruption in ordinary sources of supply; the ability to recover unanticipated increased energy and raw material costs from customers; uninsured litigation judgments or settlements; changes in government regulations; consequences of acts of war or terrorism impacting the United States' and other markets; charges related to currently unplanned portfolio management and cost reduction actions; the success of implementing cost reduction programs; the timing, impact and other uncertainties of future acquisitions or divestitures; significant fluctuations in interest rates and foreign currencies from that currently anticipated; the impact of tax and other legislation and regulations in jurisdictions in which Air Products and its affiliates operate; the recovery of insurance proceeds; the impact of new financial accounting standards, including the expensing of employee stock options; and the timing and rate at which tax credits can be utilized. The company disclaims any obligation or undertaking to disseminate any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in the company's beliefs or expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances upon which any such statements are based.