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IGL pumps up oxygen supplies


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March 2022
 
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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Aubyn Hill (right) and Opposition Spokesperson Anthony Hylton officially commission Industrial Gases Limited’s oxygen PSA plant at the company’s Ferry, St Catherine, plant on Wednesday.

Above Body

 18 Mar 2022    admin   

Production of medical grade oxygen at Industrial Gases Limited (IGL) will be increased by 40 per cent with the commissioning of an oxygen PSA plant.

IGL, Jamaica’s lone supplier of medical oxygen, currently produces 13 tonnes of the product daily.

That investment, valued at approximately $100 million according to Managing Director Peter Graham, is welcome news for Jamaica’s healthcare sector whose severely and critically ill coronavirus patients gasped for oxygen amid last summer’s third wave, the deadliest period of the two-year pandemic.

Graham explained that prior to 2018, Jamaica had full reliance on imports for oxygen.

He said IGL spent US$10 million to build an air-separation unit, which pulls in atmospheric air and produces high-purity liquid oxygen.

“In 2018, we were not planning for COVID-19. It was import substitution. At the height of the pandemic, almost all countries said, ‘I cannot ship to you,’” the managing director said.

“What if Jamaica did not have this plant? Two particular weekends were difficult, one in March and one at the end of August, where there were some breaks in supply.”

Several hospitals ran low, and others were entirely out of oxygen as demand outstripped supply.

Graham said that with the added capacity, IGL will soon be able to export oxygen to various markets.

In his remarks, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Daryl Vaz said the investment stands to benefit the economy and Jamaicans who are ailing and in need of this “very precious commodity”.

“Hindsight is always 20/20, but can you imagine if this was done during or prior to the COVID-19 pandemic? What a difference that would have made. To be able to achieve what we are witnessing today speaks to the sound vision and good leadership, as well as a deep commitment, to Jamaica and its people,” Vaz remarked.

FULL VALUE NOTICED

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Aubyn Hill said that over the past two years, the reach of IGL’s service and the depth of its social and medical integration became widely apparent.

“We saw the full value of having the commodity available locally as the global supply diminished and many countries scrambled to fill the very heightened demand occasioned by the virus. Your responsive leadership and dedicated service was noticed and appreciated by many Jamaicans,” Hill said.

Hill, a government senator, said the availability of oxygen helped to control Jamaica’s COVID-19 mortality rate, which stands at just over two per cent. More than 2,850 people in Jamaica have died from COVID-19.

Although four more COVID-19 deaths were recorded here on Tuesday, the virus has retreated since the Christmas-time surge. The latest data show a positivity rate of 1.9 per cent – worlds away from the staggering statistic of seven infections in every 10 persons in January 2022.

Meanwhile, Graham disclosed that IGL is seeking to further reduce imports by bringing into operation a carbon dioxide (CO2) plant.

“We are taking CO2 that would’ve gone into the atmosphere and using it to produce food grade carbon dioxide. All our large bottlers – Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Wisynco – instead of importing CO2 can now purchase CO2 made in Ferry,” Graham explained.

IGL, which is ISO 9001 certified, will be actively working to earn Food Safety System Certification 22000 international certification this year.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com

Source: The Gleaner 

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  • (3/3) The meeting was held to further streamline the initiative which forms part of the HEART Trust’s existing trai… https://t.co/jKbVKW9Lzm Posted: 3 days 16 hours ago
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