Posted on October 29, 2015

RasGas Company Limited (RasGas) today announced the awarding of Helium 3’s Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) and Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Agreement, for the Helium 3 Project to Air Products and Chiyoda AlMana respectively. This milestone reasserts Qatar’s position as one of the world’s leading helium producers and exporters.

The new Helium 3 plant which is expected to produce up to 0.4 billion standard cubic feet of liquid helium per annum, will be located in Qatar’s Ras Laffan Industrial City and is expected to become operational in early 2018. In addition to being awarded the SPA contract for the long-term helium supply, Air Products was also awarded the Technology License to supply the helium licensor package equipment for the new Helium 3 plant. Air Products is one of the major players in the helium industry with strong logistical capabilities, robust global experience, and local knowledge and expertise.

Qatar Petroleum (QP) President and CEO, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, described the signing of the agreements as an important building block for Qatar’s third Helium project  which symbolises QP’s policy and continuous efforts to utilise the State’s hydrocarbon resources and create added value for its national economy. Al-Kaabi also thanked RasGas for its efforts in achieving Helium 3, thus contributing to the optimisation of Qatar’s North Field resources, and realising the elements of Qatar National Vision 2030 to build a better future for generations to come.

The Helium 3 Project will be managed and operated by RasGas on behalf of Barzan shareholders, QP and ExxonMobil in recognition of RasGas’ vast experience in the execution and operation of Helium plants in the State of Qatar. “The Helium 3 project’s source of supply is unique, with extraction processes unlike any of the previous two helium plants. This is a new achievement for RasGas, and I am pleased with our ability to leverage existing available capabilities in the country,” said Hamad Mubarak Al-Muhannadi, CEO of RasGas.

RasGas also manages and operates Ras Laffan Helium 1 and 2. Helium 2 set a brilliant production record when it reached 100 per cent production capacity less than a year after its startup. Helium is essential to many applications such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); fiber optics and semiconductor manufacturing; metallurgy; breathing atmospheres for deep diving or unique blood gas medical mixtures; lifting for high altitude scientific research balloons, blimps; and other advanced applications.

Market studies show that the world demand for helium has increased by 2.7 per cent since 2013. With a projected helium demand growth forecast, the Helium 3 Project would contribute toward filling the supply gap that the global helium market might experience in the future. Air Products has an existing relationship with RasGas in other business and markets, and a successful history of accomplishments in Qatar. Air Products previously supplied the natural gas liquefaction technology, key liquefaction equipment, and helium extraction boxes for all 14 liquefied natural gas (LNG) trains for RasGas and Qatargas, as well as the large air separation plant for Oryx GTL, which are all located in Ras Laffan.