North American Helium Inc. (NAH; Calgary, Canada) announced it has successfully brought its third helium purification facility on production in May with zero operational issues. This facility is located near the Village of Mankota in southwest Saskatchewan.
Commenting on this operational milestone, Mr. Marlon McDougall, President and COO stated, “As NAH continues to execute on its operating and development plans, we are now realizing our goal of creating a new global helium production hub in Saskatchewan. We have been diligent in our approach to obtaining a deep understanding of the helium reservoir and trapping systems on our substantial land position and remain firmly on track to double helium production in 2022. North American Helium continues to increase its level of investment in Saskatchewan as we advance exploration and development projects slated for 2023.” Mr. McDougall continued:
“This is an exciting year for us, and we plan to add two additional helium production facilities before year-end 2022, while also doubling the capacity of one of our existing production plants. Our company remains committed to being a trusted partner for the supply of reliable, sustainably produced helium in North America.”
Air Liquide is part of the growing Saskatchewan helium story. This is the second successful NAH project in which the Group is a major off-taker, the first being the Battle Creek plant, Canada’s largest helium purification facility. Both projects were completed on time and at projected capacity, providing certainty in the helium supply chain for its customers.
“Air Liquide is continuously looking at ways to increase the availability of helium for its customers and is pleased to be working with NAH again,” commented Mr. Rich Brook, President, Air Liquide Helium America.
Commenting on the increased helium production volumes now on long-term contract, Mr. Nicholas Snyder, Chairman and CEO of NAH stated, “We are pleased to once again be working with Air Liquide as the primary off-taker of the helium production from our new Mankota facility. We value having a leader in the industrial gas business as a partner and appreciate the financial stability the long-term off-take agreement brings to support our strategic growth objectives.”
Founded in 2013, NAH has been the most active helium driller in Saskatchewan with over 40 wells drilled to date. The Company plans to have a continuous capital investment program, which will include acquisition of additional third-party and proprietary seismic data, drilling 15-20 wells per year, and concurrently building additional helium processing facilities as new fields are developed.
Over the past several years, NAH has discovered eight new helium fields and acquired rights to explore for and produce helium on a land base of over 8.5 million contiguous acres, primarily in Saskatchewan, Canada, as well as the states of Utah, Arizona and Montana, USA. The Company currently sells helium on long term contracts to several of the largest industrial gas companies. NAH owns and operates multiple helium purification facilities including Canada’s largest facility (Battle Creek), providing reliable, long-term North American supply of this scarce resource to meet growing demand.
Helium is an inert gas produced by the decay of uranium and thorium that can be trapped in underground reservoirs proximal to the source. Its unique physical properties make it vital for several high technology applications where there is often no substitute. Helium’s low boiling point and non-reactive nature make it vital for the pressurization and purging of liquid fuels in rockets for space exploration and satellite infrastructure. Helium is also required for semiconductor manufacturing, MRI machines and certain welding applications due to its high heat capacity. A well-known but minor use is as a lifting gas in balloons and airships.