Qatar is destined to be the world’s largest helium exporter by 2013 when the world’s largest helium refining unit begins to produce its first drop of liquid helium. The new unit Helium 2 facility will join the existing Helium 1 facility to provide more than a quarter of worldwide helium sales. On behalf of RasGas and Qatargas owners, the RasGas and Qatargas Helium 2 Project Teams have built a state-of-the-art facility where crude helium is extracted from six Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) mega trains. Crude helium is transported by pipeline to a helium recovery unit, refined to 99.999 percent Grade-A purity, liquefied, and loaded into containers for shipment to three main customers. The new extraction facilities will also include equipment to oxidise trace amounts of methane from the feed stream in order to minimise the project’s environmental footprint. Qatar’s helium is produced as a by-product from the LNG trains. Capitalising on economies of scale, large volumes of helium are extracted for export, further strengthening the market position of the project’s shareholders and providing flexibility to meet future demands. Helium is used in various applications such as medical scanners, academic laboratories, diving, space exploration, and leak detection. In cryogenic applications where extremely low temperatures are required, there are no known substitutes for helium, making it a strategic long-term resource.


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