Qatar’s RasGas, a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum (70%) and ExxonMobil (30%), is best known for its significant LNG market share – RasGas has a production capacity of 37mn tons/year, about half of Qatar’s 77mn t/y total LNG capacity.

But helium is a key side product. On 8 July RasGas started up operations of the world’s largest helium purification and liquefaction unit at Ras Laffan. The Helium 2 unit has a capacity of 38mn cu ms/y. Combined with the existing Helium 1 unit, RasGas now has a production capacity of 58mn cu ms/y – about 25% of total world helium production. RasGas says that the customers for liquid helium from the Ras Laffan Helium 2 plant will be France’s Air Liquide (50%), Germany’s Linde Gases (30%) and Japan’s Iwatani Corporation (20%). The supply agreements run until 2032. (CONTINUED - 268 WORDS)