Russia and Ukraine are collectively the largest producers of some of the world’s noble gases. As the conflict between these two countries continues, the supply of these gases is decreasing. To make matters worse, in response to several sanctions against Russia, the country will ban the supply of these gases to certain companies. It is important to note that Ukraine cannot guarantee supply at this time. The areas where Ukraine produces these gases are either under Russian control or heavily affected by Russian bombs. Neon and helium are important gases in chip production and their shortage will lead to a shortage of chips. However, major chipmakers like Intel, ASML and Micron are confident in their stocks. They claim to have enough storage of these gases that will outlast the conflict. Moreover, Chinese gas suppliers are now taking advantage of the situation.
Read also : Russia bans the export of inert gases such as neon and helium
Faced with the shortage of neon gas, there is a shadow of the rapid growth of Chinese gas suppliers. Specialty gases refer to gases that are used in specific fields and have special requirements for purity, variety and properties. Mixed gases such as neon, krypton and xenon are a type of specialty gases.
The semiconductor industry requires many types of specialty gases. The chip manufacturing process requires more than 50 kinds of specialty gases for silicon wafer fabrication, oxidation, lithography, thin film deposition, etching, ion implantation and other processes.
In the field of electronic special gases, the German group Linde, the French group Air Liquide and the American group Air Products are the three largest gas suppliers in the world. Together, they account for 70% of the global e-gas market share in 2019.
Chinese gas suppliers
Among Chinese gas suppliers, Huate Gas, which was established in 1999 and listed on the Science and Technology Innovation Council in 2019, is the representative of Chinese specialty gas players. Walter Gas is the first company in China to break through high purity hexafluoroethane, high purity trifluoromethane, high purity octafluoropropane, high purity carbon dioxide, high purity carbon monoxide, nitric oxide high purity Ar/F/Ne gas mixture. It is also the only gas company in China to have passed the certification of ASML and Gigaphoton, a Japanese supplier of laser light sources for lithography machines.
Under the oligopoly of foreign gas companies such as the German Linde Group, the French Air Liquide Group, the American Air Products Group and the Japanese Showa Denko, Walter Gas’ coverage rate for Chinese manufacturers of 8-inch integrated circuits exceeds 80%. Its customers include SMIC, Huahong Grace, Yangtze Memory, Wuhan Xinxin, China Resources Microelectronics, TSMC (China), Hejian Technology, Silan Micro, etc. Moreover, Chinese gas suppliers are now receiving orders from foreign companies like Intel, Micron, Texas Instruments. , SK Hynix and others.
Read also : The price of high-quality neon gas has increased more than tenfold as Russia enforces the ban
Walter gas supply moves to China from Ukraine
After the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in 2014 and 2015, companies felt the need to leave Ukraine. The supply of Walter neon gas, as well as krypton gas, has shifted from Ukraine to China.
According to Walter Gas’ 2019 prospectus, its raw neon gas supply comes primarily from Chinese gas suppliers. Some of the companies include Beijing Shougang Oxygen Plant, Linyi Qiyuan Gas Co., Ltd., Handan Handan Iron and others.
Its krypton gas supply also had to switch from EAST RAY DISTRIBUTIONS LTD to Anhui Tianlang Gas Development Co., Ltd., Beijing Shougang Oxygen Plant, the French group Air Liquide, South Korea’s KOREA NOBLE GAS CO., LTD and d other companies.
In April this year, Walter Gas announced that it would issue convertible corporate bonds. These bonds will be used to raise funds to build a semiconductor materials construction project. The project’s target production will be 1,764 tons per year. In addition, the company plans to invest no less than 466 million yuan. According to the company’s schedule, this plant will go into production in about two years. When finished, it will produce high purity carbon monoxide, high purity nitric oxide, hexafluoropropane and isomers. It will also produce hydrogen bromide, boron trichloride, ultra-pure hydrogen, ultra-pure krypton, ultra-pure neon, ultra-pure helium and ultra-pure xenon.