Algerian Skikda Plant to Boost World Helium Supply
The Algerian international suppliers of industrial gases are awaiting “a go ahead” signal by the government to proceed with the construction of the country's second helium plant, proposed for the coastal town of Skikda, according to a press release
A number of other international companies, like BOC Gases of the UK, France's Air Liquide and Air Products and Chemicals of the US, will participate in the project, which it is estimated will cost more than $100 million, and be designed to produce 600 million cubic feet of helium a year.
Helium for the plant will be stripped off natural gas as it is separated at the liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant at Skikda. Algeria's only other helium plant, Helios, is a joint venture between state energy company Sonatrach and Air Liquide and Air Products & Chemicals.
It is located at Arzew, drawing helium from the LNG plant there. Sonatrach has the option of forming a joint venture with a consortium for the Skikda plant, or of working with one partner only, a source close to the project says.
Algeria is one of only four countries where helium is known to be found in natural gas in commercial quantities, the others being Russia, Poland and the US. Together these countries' production capacity is 6,650 million cubic feet per year, while consumption is 5,200 – Albawba.com
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