High gas and oil costs as well as strong demand have prompted Praxair Inc. to inform its customers that the prices of its products will be increasing. The company told its industrial, medical and specialty gas customers in the U.S. and its helium customers worldwide Wednesday that, effective immediately, prices will go up on oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, argon, helium, hydrogen and other products, except as otherwise permitted by the terms and conditions of customer contracts.

“Throughout last year’s disruptions due to hurricanes and interruptions in feed sources, Praxair maintained the highest level of reliability in the industry and provided our customers with the products they needed,” said Jim Fuchs, president of Praxair’s North American Industrial Gases business. “We are committed to maintaining this high level of performance in an environment of strong demand and increased costs.”

Praxair said the actions are being implemented in response to strong demand as well as continued energy, logistics and other operational cost pressures for all products. For helium, the high cost of crude gas and refined liquid purchases are additional factors. Praxair also advised customers in the U.S. of modified or additional regional charges for recovery of premium energy costs. Electricity and/or natural gas are the largest cost factors in the production of industrial gases.

The company said it will raise prices 10% for bulk oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Prices for argon, hydrogen and helium will go up 15%, and prices for cylinder rental fees will increase 5%.

Praxair is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America and one of the largest worldwide, with 2005 sales of $7.7 billion.

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