Japan And Russia To Enter Into Joint Helium-production Project

A joint helium-production project is set to come into fruition between Japan and Russia, where the Japanese government will fund trading companies and firms that will take part in the project at the Chayanda natural gas fields in Sakha Republic, in eastern Siberia. It is hoped that by 2017, Japan can begin importing gas from said fields. This venture comes at a time when the demand for helium continues to be prevalent but the supply thereof has seen a decline. In Japan, a number of companies had to stop offering certain products and services that are dependent on helium. Many hospitals have stopped using MRIs, and Tokyo Disneyland no longer sells helium balloons. It is believed that the shortage is a result of the increased number of MRIs in China, thus requires larger helium imports; coupled with the United States–where Japan imports a large quantity of its helium supply–shifting its core supply of natural gas to shale, which cannot be used to produce helium. In addition, the project aims to create a deeper bilateral relationship between Japan and Russia. Should the project prove to be a success, Russia will not only be able to export helium to Japan but also to China and other countries. As one official in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry aptly puts it, “the project will reap benefits for both Japan and Russia.”

Japan and Russia to enter into joint helium-production project

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