Balashikha Oxygen Plant was founded by P.L. Kapitsa, a prominent physicist and Nobel laureate. The construction of the Plant commenced at the end of 1930s, but it was suspended when the war began.
The birthday of Balashikha Oxygen Plant was assumed to be in October 1944 when the Plant generated first liquid oxygen by a method of deep cooling and separation of air in a low-pressure circuit. The work was supervised by Professor P.L. Kapitsa, who was the Head of the Institute of Physical Problems of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. It was he who designed process equipment of the first Soviet air separation unit TK-2000. With the beginning of production of liquid oxygen, the Plant started to develop, and today it is one of the largest suppliers of gas products and equipment in Russia.
Further development of the Plant was connected primarily with expansion of the production facilities in order to meet the needs of the post-war period to the fullest extent. Thus, at the end of 1940s and at the beginning of 1950s, three air separation units Heyland-540, manufactured in Germany and operated in a high-pressure cycle, were commissioned. At the same time, the production of oxygen gas in pressurized cylinders was developed. In 1950s, the plant mastered the process of generation of industrial quality nitrogen and argon.
The 1960s were marked by considerable changes in the technology of generation of air separation products caused by increased requirements to quality of products. The industrial growth and the creation of new production sectors and technologies extended drastically a range of purchasers of gas products and demanded implementation of new kinds of their transportation and storage. Within those years, a new production building, equipped with units designed by the Research Institute of Russia, was put into service.
In 1974, the work was commenced for production of gas mixtures of ordered composition which in 1980 was crowned with construction and commissioning of a specialized shop for production of special gases and gas mixtures for metrological applications.
Thus, by 1990 Balashikha Oxygen Plant became the leading plant in the area of generation of industrial and special gases. The clients of the Plant included over 10 thousand enterprises of metallurgical, electronic, medical, chemical, oil and gas processing, defense and other industries, as well as all the hospitals and healthcare institutions of Moscow and Moscow Region.
The privatization of the Plant in 1992 enabled the Plant's staff to obtain substantial independence and possibility to choose their further fate.
In 1994, AGA, Sweden, acquired the controlling block of shares of Balashikha Oxygen Plant. In such a way, the two largest in the world technical schools integrated in order to achieve the best performance.
Within the investment programme of AGA in Russia, implemented from 1995 to 1996, the project of a new air separation shop was executed enabling to considerably reduce consumption of electrical power for generation of products, to improve environmental performance and quality of produced gases. At the moment, the technical equipment of this air separation plant in Russia is second to none. Besides, construction of the new air separation plant, a laboratory for analysis of special gases was put into operation, which provided a high accuracy of gas analysis, especially for environmental applications in Russia, and allowed achieving compliance with world standards in gas analysis; new vehicles for delivery of products to customers were designed.
In 2003, another large investment project was implemented: construction of a new cylinder filling station. In the course of implementation of that project, a new cylinder filling shop, an integrated complex for storage and gasification of cryogenic products, a new warehouse terminal for storage of cylinders and their centralized shipment to customers, a new section of repair and engineering certification of cylinders were constructed, and a new gas quality control laboratory was put into service.
In 2000, AGA merged with Linde.
In order to strengthen the Company's positions on the finished products market, in the middle of 2000, the management of the Company took a decision for integration of all the companies owned by Linde in Russia, under the guidance of Balashikha Oxygen Plant OJSC. Therefore, in August 2000, the following two branches joined Balashikha Oxygen Plant OJSC: AGA AO in Saint-Petersburg and AGA KAZ in Kaliningrad. This integration enabled the Company to become a leader in generation and sales of air separation products on the Russian market.
History of Balashikha Oxygen Plant –AGA AO Branch
The production branch AGA AO began its activities on the market of the North-Eastern Region in 1994.
For all these years, the Company has continued its dynamic development: one of the most advanced stations for cylinder filling with oxygen and carbon dioxide in the region has been installed and operated successfully; a cylinder repair workshop, a warehouse complex and a new gas analysis laboratory are in service.
In 2004, a station for cylinder filling with argon and welding mixtures FOGON was commissioned. Currently, AGA AO has advanced engineering capabilities including large-capacity gas storage facilities, compressor and vacuum equipment, gasification systems as well as a fleet of vehicles for delivery of cryogenic and cylinder products to customers.
History of Balashikha Oxygen Plant –AGA KAZ Branch
The first enterprise that a Sweden gas concern AGA began to co-operate with on the Russian market in 1994 was Kaliningrad Acetylene and Oxygen Plant. And it was in no way fortuitous. The matter is that from the beginning of the last century to 1945, AGA had a branch in Koenigsberg – a "capital" of the East Prussia. This was a rather large (at the time) acetylene plant.
The history of Kaliningrad Acetylene and Oxygen Plant began on June 18, 1946. The production was established based on two pre-war shops: oxygen and acetylene ones. The acetylene shop belonged to AGA from 1916 to 1945.
In 1994, AGA returned to the region. Kaliningrad Acetylene and Oxygen Plant was converted into AGA KAZ OJSC. During the first months of activities on the new market of industrial and medical gases, the Swedes started reconstructing the existing company actively. Owing to the implemented investment programme of the Concern, within the shortest possible period the acetylene production plant was upgraded to reach the production capacity of the filling station up to 1,000 t/y.
As of the beginning of 1996, AGA KAZ covered the whole area of the Kaliningrad Region, Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus by its distribution network as a result of its new strategy of sales promotion.In other words, from the very first steps of its activities, AGA laid the basis for further development of business in Russia, which is confirmed by the current performance in Russia as a whole.