Qatar Is World’s Top Helium Exporter With QR1.8bn New Plant

Qatar has become the world’s largest exporter and second largest producer of helium with the start-up of QR1.8bn Helium 2 Plant at Ras Laffan with a design capacity of 1.3bn standard cubic feet a year. The plant, which is the world’s largest helium refining facility co-owned by Qatargas and RasGas, will be operated by the latter. RasGas said the plant produced the “first liquid helium” for delivery to contracted customers.
The Helium Plant 2 is twice the size of the first plant, which began operations in 2005. With a combined annual production of 2bn standard cubic feet a year, the two plants will meet about 25% of the current global demand for liquid helium. The second plant was inaugurated by HE the Minister of Energy and Industry, Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada at a ceremony held at Katara Cultural Village yesterday. The event was held under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani. Qatar has signed off-take agreements with Air Liquide, Iwatani Corp and Linde Gases in 2010. Air Liquide will receive 50%, Linde Gases 30% and the Iwatani Corp 20% of annual production up to 2032.

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