Helium is one of the coldest substances known to man in its liquid form, and being a naturally occurring resource, it has been implemented into a wide variety of applications. According to a research report published by Decision Databases, the global helium market can be segmented into health care, aerostatics, transportation, electronics, cryogenics, semiconductor & fiber optics, leak detection & gas chromatography, welding, among others. The research also indicates that helium is widely used in NMR machines, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and nuclear reactors as a coolant. The use of helium in MRI equipment is a significant factor which is anticipated to increase the demand for helium in the near future. Based on the current applications, a research report by Technavio estimates that the global helium market will grow at a CAGR of around 9% between 2016 and 2020, at which point the market will exceed USD 1.5 Billion. American Helium Inc. , Exxon Mobil Corporation, Praxair, Inc., Seagate Technology PLC, PJSC Gazprom. Major political and economic developments around the world influence the price of helium. For example, on June 5th, 2017, neighboring countries began a trade embargo on Qatar, which had accounted for about 32% of the global helium supply before the blockade. According to the Natural Resources Research by Springer, “even though the United Stateswas the leading supplier of helium in the world, this international development raised concerns about helium shortages and price increases in the country, especially in the scientific research community” As for U.S suppliers, the research indicates that “the Private U.S. suppliers of helium could increase production to make up for some of the decreases in U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) supply, but a greater share of global helium production is likely to continue to shift to other countries.”
American Helium Inc. is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol. Earlier this month the company reported that “it has executed an agreement with Holbrook Basin Energy LLC of Golden, CO (HBE) to undertake an exploration drill program in Arizona. The Arizona project location is in the “Four Corners” area where the States of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizonameet, and in the prolific helium productive Holbrook Basin, a well-established helium production district where concentrations of the gas range from trace amounts up to 10%. The area has good potential for additional discovery and production. Helium content is generally considered to be of commercial interest when the concentration is above 0.3% (Casey, 1983, p. 749). The abundant nature of the region has led to anecdotal statements over the years that “Arizona is the Saudi Arabia of helium.” HBE has developed a compelling exploration play of interest to the Company, and expanded lease negotiations are underway. Based on available data, American Helium intends to drill an exploration well on a recently identified target proximal to successful analogous wells in the area. Along with its property in Carbon County, Utah and the recent May 29th announcement regarding an exploration project agreement with Yankee Resources for a helium prospect in SE Colorado, today’s announcement represents a significant increase in operational planning which will be regionally managed as a result of the Company’s recent decision to open an office in Denver to more readily and efficiently service field operations across it’s rapidly growing western U.S. areas of activity.”
Exxon Mobil Corporation is the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company. ExxonMobil U.S. Production operates in five states – California, Texas, Wyoming, Louisiana and Alabama – as well as in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Santa Barbara County. In addition to producing oil and natural gas, other products for sale include natural gas liquids, helium and carbon dioxide. SABIC and ExxonMobil recently announced that they have created a new joint-venture to advance the development of the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures Project, a 1.8 Million-ton ethane cracker currently planned for construction in San Patricio County, Texas. The facility will also include a monoethylene glycol unit and two polyethylene units. “We are very pleased to announce the creation of what is now planned to be the third joint venture between our two companies,” said SABIC Vice Chairman and CEO Yousef Al-Benyan. “We look forward to the next phase of the project, which supports not only our goals for global diversification, but also supports Saudi Vision 2030. In addition, we are proud of the role the project will play in enhancing the economic profile of San Patricio County, Texas,” he concluded.
Praxair, Inc. is a leading industrial gas company in North and South America as well as one of the largest worldwide. Praxair, Inc. recently announced that it has signed another long-term contract with an electronics manufacturer in Shanghai, China. Praxair will build, own and operate multiple air separation plants that will supply high-purity nitrogen and oxygen to EverDisplay Optronics (EDO), the first mass producer of 4.5-generation AMOLED displays in the country. Under the terms of the contract, Praxair will also supply EDO with helium and other gases. Praxair’s plants will provide a combined 720 tons per day of nitrogen to EDO’s new 6th-generation AMOLED project in Shanghai. The nitrogen will be used in EDO’s manufacturing processes. The bulk gas supply is scheduled to begin in mid-2018, followed by additional supply from the air separation plants, which are expected to start up in 2019. “China is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing AMOLED markets,” said Will Li, President of Praxair China. “This project further builds on our long history of successfully serving electronics customers in China and around the world. Through this new agreement, we will continue to enhance our competitive position in Shanghai.”
Seagate Technology PLC creates space for the human experience by innovating how data is stored, shared and used. Seagate Technology PLC unveiled its 14TB helium-based ExosTM X14 enterprise drive at the OCP U.S. Summit 2018 in San Jose, California. The Seagate® Exos X14 delivers high performance and greater capacity for hyperscale data centers looking to efficiently and cost-effectively manage increasing amounts of data. By offering greater storage density in the same 3.5-inch footprint, Seagate’s Exos X14 drive is ideal for hyperscale environments. Enhanced areal density means Seagate can deliver higher capacity storage in a smaller package, a milestone for meeting the demand of increasing data center needs. The Exos X14 offers the industry’s lowest power consumption, smallest footprint, and best performance in its class, making the hard drive an affordable solution for data centers looking to maximize their storage capabilities while reducing complexity and operational costs. “Our hyperscale customers want the best value in terms of total cost of ownership and that is mainly driven by capacity, power efficiency, enhanced caching, and predictable I/O,” said Sai Varanasi, Vice President of Product Line Marketing, Storage Devices at Seagate. “Exos X14 shines on all four fronts by delivering 14TB with leading sustained transfer rates and random I/O responsiveness optimized for hyperscale applications.”
PJSC Gazprom is a global energy company focused on geological exploration, production, transportation, storage, processing and sales of gas, gas condensate and oil. Gazprom Export LLC, in early 2018, completed the bidding procedure to sell helium from the Amur gas processing plant. This resulted in the signing of the long-term sales and purchase agreements (SPA) and the allocation of the vast part of the Amur GPP Helium quantities among the largest global industrial gas companies. The procedure was held in 2016-2017 with the support of Gazprom Marketing and Trading Ltd. The logistic infrastructure for the transportation and treatment of helium containers on the Russian territory, including Helium Hub in Primorsky Kray, will be built up and operated by Gazprom Gazenergoset Helium LLC. Once prepared for exports, the helium containers will be delivered from the Russian Far East ports to the global markets. “We are glad that growing demand for the products from Amur GPP – the world’s largest helium production facility – resulted in conclusion of long-term contracts”, Director General of Gazprom Export Elena Burmistrova noted.