• 3 hours India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 8 hours Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 12 hours Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 18 hours Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 19 hours Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 20 hours Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 2 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 2 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 2 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 2 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 2 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 2 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 2 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 2 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 2 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 2 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 3 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 3 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 3 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 3 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 3 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 5 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 5 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 6 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 6 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 6 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 6 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 6 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 6 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 7 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 7 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 7 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 7 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 7 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
  • 7 days Oil Throwback: BP Is Bringing Back The Amoco Brand
  • 7 days Libyan Oil Output Covers 25% Of 2017 Budget Needs
  • 7 days District Judge Rules Dakota Access Can Continue Operating
  • 8 days Surprise Oil Inventory Build Shocks Markets
  • 8 days France’s Biggest Listed Bank To Stop Funding Shale, Oil Sands Projects
  • 8 days Syria’s Kurds Aim To Control Oil-Rich Areas
Alt Text

Iran Ready For OPEC Oil Deal Extension

Iran is ready to take…

Alt Text

The Next Big Digital Disruption In Energy

Blockchain technology is transforming the…

Alt Text

The New Challenger To Lithium Batteries

The lithium-ion battery is head…

Could Helium Help Canada Recover From The Oil Bust?

Helium storage

Helium has recently got on the public radar, after a potentially huge discovery of untapped deposits in Tanzania. Now the spotlight is moving to Canada, which may become the next big source of the noble gas.

One company, Weil Group Resources, has just opened a helium-producing plant in a tiny little town called Mankota, in Saskatchewan, and plans to open another one, in Alberta, Reuters reports. The first plant has a capacity to produce 40 million cubic feet annually and costs $10 million. Global helium consumption is around 8 bcf, so the Saskatchewan plant’s capacity may not be too impressive in a global context, but it is impressive in the context of U.S. consumption.

Source: IHS

Last year, North America as a whole accounted for the largest single portion of helium consumption globally. The U.S., the biggest producer, satisfies two-thirds of its demand from a giant storage facility in Amarillo, Texas. Yet the U.S. government is on track to quit commercial helium in five years, which has spurred a search for alternative sources of the gas, which is used not just for party balloons but also in MRI machines, rocket engines, and barcode readers.

Weil Group is not the only one with its eye on Canadian helium. Quantum Helium Management Corp opened its first low-grade helium processing facility in Saskatchewan back in 2013, and is now planning to open another two plants, one in the same province and one in Alberta. Related: Strong Dollar And Demand Concerns Weigh On Oil Prices

The helium global market is worth $4.7 billion, according to Mordor Intelligence, a market research firm. The world’s needs are satisfied by just 20 plants, where helium is extracted from natural gas and liquefied. Demand is expected to grow, as MRI becomes more widely used and other applications of the gas also expand.

Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada’s oil and gas provinces, have been hard hit by the commodity price rout. A switch to helium could be what they need to get back on their feet. And there is abundant helium in Canada: according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the country has the fifth-largest reserves of the gas in the world and it’s in higher concentration than many other places, says Phil Kornbluth, a helium consultant. Over the last two years, the local authorities issued 17 helium permits and leases – the busiest two years in the last five decades, according to government data.

Helium could become a real opportunity for Canada. The Tanzania discovery is still only a potential, and besides, there’s controversy around it concerning the local indigenous groups, which are in strained relations with the government. Recycling efforts are also on the rise but large-scale recycling is far in the future. Helium won’t replace oil and gas as a revenue stream, but it could offset at least part of the damage done by the oil and gas price crisis.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage


Comments currently closed.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News