UpdateGermany's Linde fixes long-term supply from Qatar helium plant

08 July 2013 22:11  [Source: ICIS news]

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HOUSTON (ICIS)--Linde has secured long-term rights to 30% of output from the world’s largest helium source – the 38m cubic metre/year Helium 2 plant in Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar, the Germany-based gases and engineering firm said on Monday.

“We have therefore strengthened our supply base in Qatar, building on our long-term commitment with the first plant there in 2005,” said Steve Penn, global head of Merchant and Packaged Gases at Linde Gases Division.

“Helium 2 further reinforces Linde’s position as having the most diverse helium sourcing portfolio in the industry, including sources in Algeria, Australia and the US.”

Linde on Monday shipped the first container from the Helium 2 unit, a project that arose from a partnership among French industrial gases firm Air Liquide and Qatar liquefied natural gas (LNG) suppliers RasGas and Qatargas to build a previous helium unit at the site.

The Helium 2 plant will bring production capacity at the site to about 58m cubic metres/year, making Qatar the world’s second largest helium producer with 25% of global production, Air Liquide said.

The unit is operated by RasGas and uses Air Liquide’s proprietary purifying and liquefying technologies. Air Liquide will purchase 50% of the helium volumes produced at the site.

“This start-up marks the next step toward helium market stability,” Air Liquide said. “World demand for helium has remained robust in the last 10 years, while helium is scarce worldwide.”

Helium is used in a wide range of products such as MRI scanners, semiconductors, fibre-optic cable, space exploration, scientific research, air-bag production and professional hyberbaric diving.

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By: Tracy Dang
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