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Industrial gas giant Air Products (APD - Analyst Report) has finally clinched its first major domestic liquefied natural gas (LNG) heat exchanger order for a liquefaction project in Maryland. 
 
The Pennsylvania-based company will supply its proprietary C3MR LNG liquefaction technology and equipment for power and energy company Dominion Resources, Inc.’s (D - Snapshot Report) major liquefaction project. The project will be constructed at Dominion's existing Cove Point LNG import facility at Lusby, Md. Air Products was chosen by a joint venture between IHI E&C International Corporation and Kiewit Corporation for the project.
 
Air Products' MCR main cryogenic heat exchanger will be installed at the core of the propane pre-cooled mixed refrigerant liquefaction process. The Cove Point liquefaction process will be designed to produce 5.25 million tons of LNG annually and is expected to come online in 2017.
 
Air Products’ proprietary LNG technology, which is available across 15 nations globally, processes and cryogenically liquefies natural gas for consumer and industrial application. This innovative technology has been designed to address the growing energy needs across the globe.
 
Air Products provides process technology and key equipment to the LNG industry for natural gas liquefaction process as well as small and middle-level LNG facilities. The LNG technology is gaining importance as it meets the increasing global need for cleaner energy.
 
Most of the LNG manufactured globally leverages Air Products’ technology. The company has shipped its LNG heat exchangers to remote places, including locations in Indonesia, Algeria, Nigeria, Peru, Malaysia, Egypt, Oman, Yemen and Qatar. 
 
Air Products, in July 2012, shipped the 100th LNG heat exchanger made at its Wilkes-Barre facility in Pennsylvania. Some of the heat exchangers manufactured at this plant are as large as 16.5 feet in diameter, 180 feet long and weigh as much as 500 tons.
 
Air Products benefits from a diverse customer base, sustained pricing power and cost-reduction measures. New business deals and strategic investments are expected to support results in fiscal 2013.
 
However, volume in the core Merchant Gases segment may remain under pressure partly due to weakness across a number of markets in Europe. Air Products’ electronics business may also continue to see weak demand. Moreover, higher energy costs pose a threat to margin expansion. 
 
Air Products currently retains a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).
 
Other companies in the chemical industry with favorable Zacks Rank include Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd. and Celanese Corporation (CE - Analyst Report). While Shin-Etsu Chemical retains a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Celanese holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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