From shortage (2006/7) to balance, shortage (2011-2013) to surplus, and shortage (2018-2021) that’s been the story of the helium business over the last decade, and potentially for the year ahead too.
So, you might ask, what’s different now – what’s behind the title of our ? Well, while Helium Shortage 3.0 is predicted to continue until at least 2021, everything is about to change in the global helium business in the next 12-18 months.
Sourcing is changing and adapting, both in how helium is explored and where it’s sourced geographically; the pendulum of helium demand is also shifting geographically, with the Asia-Pacific region now leading the world in its demand for this product; new applications are finally starting to emerge; and with so many new sources set to come on-stream from 2021 onwards, with Noble Helium, the most significant global explorer leading the charge. Our potential is to replace the BLM with a reserve 5 times the BLM at it’s peak. We are going to see a whole ‘new normal’ helium market by 2025. All of which means everything we knew about helium really is about to change.
Helium is a global, US$6 billion industry and one of the world’s rarest gases, essential to almost all modern and future technologies that simply cannot run or be produced without helium. Semiconductor chip manufacturing is exploding already consuming 14% of all helium production and forecast to grow to 30%.
MRI machines/cryogenics already consume 30%; Welding 17%. NASA and commercial rockets cannot launch without helium. Space exploration is expected to grow 10 fold to a US$3 trillion industry over the next 30 years (Bank of America Merrill Lynch).
Our smart phones, smart TVs, computers and the coming automated vehicle revolution are a few examples of why helium is so critical to us all. None of the above would be possible without this amazing rare gas.
Demand continues to grow as new 21st Century technologies drive helium use.
Near-Term: Enabled by cheap access to space, internet reach to grow from 47% to 97% of the global population by 2024 through deployment of global broadband satellite constellations. Up to 12,000 low-earth orbit nano-satellites will be launched from 2019; this could double current internet revenues, sales of phones, computers and all other products containing microprocessors.
Longer-Term: One of the many new technologies is within reach of solving some of the biggest problems facing our planet – Fusion Power. First Plasma at ITER in 2025. If proven, global roll out from 2035 will replace fossil fuel burning power plants over the balance of the century. This will require a 4 fold increase in helium supply. Only helium can cool the reactor magnets that contain the 150 million degrees Celsius—10 times hotter than the core of the sun. Fusion would be lost for years, perhaps forever, unless a new major source of this rare gas is developed Already, this project involving 35 countries has invested $US20 billion.
95% of the world’s helium is sourced as a fixed-rate by-product from a small number of natural gas plants.
However the global helium supply chain has become something of a tinderbox, ready to ignite. Supply risks for this technologically vital element are mounting dramatically, as supply moves away from nearly 100 years of stable sourcing from the USA. This is significantly reducing security of supply, which will become concentrated in an oligopoly comprising Qatar, Russia and Algeria by 2027; this is a critical issue for this rare, essential industrial gas.
Prices have doubled in the last 10 years; Helium is now worth 40 times LNG.
Toward Net Zero Carbon 2050
Fusion Power is no longer a dream, it is the answer to a clean green planet earth. Helium is critical in its operation and global roll out to replace all fossil fuel energy plants on earth. This will create a 400% increase in helium demand. Current sources will not be able to meet this growth. New Primary sources must found and be ready. Noble Helium is poised to prove up a new global scale primary helium resource by 2023 that will ensure that this amazing advance is secure in its need for helium. We urge you to take the time to watch this video explanation of why this will be mans greatest advance ever.
“This is not just new tech, it is The Tech”
Bernard Bigot, Director General of ITER
The 100 year old method of extracting helium from natural gas wells containing tiny concentrations of helium – 0.3% to 0.5% – has served us well but is limited and it will not be enough to sustain growth in demand beyond 2030.
In the areas we have locked up in Tanzania we expect to find very large volumes. Already we have seeps of up to 18% at surface; this is almost 40 times the normal concentrations in the small number of natural gas fields that currently provide most of the world’s helium. The geology here has never been tested but is near-ideal for the large independent helium reserves needed to secure world supply.
We have already seen independent certification of helium resource estimates for the area (Certified Prospective Resources or CPRs) of 98Bcf, which if proven would represent 3 times the US BLM reserve at peak capacity or 20 years supply based on current global market demand.
We must start now to bring into play a global-scale, new generation, pure-play reserve, making helium the primary source product. It must be totally independent of natural gas. If not, the world will face increasing shortages and the potential loss of vital new technologies and all that they offer the world, in this century and beyond.
Thanks to the independent work of two of the world’s leading helium scientists (at Oxford and Durham Universities, UK), who took the initiative to search for alternative helium sources in 2015.
Noble Helium has secured 6115 km2 of what promises to be the most likely place in the world for a global-scale helium reserve, no longer an opportunistic by-product of natural gas.
This area could contain up to 100+ years supply.
Tanzania is where Noble Helium is one of two international developers
See the latest Noble Helium’s news here
Given the geopolitical risks, it’s not a good idea to depend on Qatar, Algeria, and Russia as a source of helium.
“Helium supply has fluctuated from a slight surplus when the large Qatar 2 production came fully onstream in 2014…”
By Maura D. Garvey
Just contact us to arrange a time to meet. Our presentation is 45 minutes.
Walter brings to Noble Helium a highly successful business career spanning 4 decades, with 50% spent in Corporate and the balance in his own start up ventures. In his corporate career, he was part of history as a major industry disruptor with three of the world’s largest marketers. Grew one segment from $10 million to $8 billion pa, capturing 80% of the market.
Reconstructed an entire 250-person national sales and marketing team across 6 divisions in just 9 months for a major industry. Reduced operating cost from 12%pa to 3%pa whilst increasing sales revenues +14% in the first full year.
He pioneered two significant start up ventures, one that became a $20b segment. Another where he raised $30m and launched a unique service operation employing 1,000. He has wide experience in corporate governance, board, chair and director roles.
M: +61 (0)412 727 350
Chief Executive Officer
A petroleum geophysicist and highly successful explorer, Justyn became interested in securing the future of helium after an outstanding 25-year record of value creation in the upstream petroleum industry.
His career includes technical and management roles at super-majors Chevron and Repsol and at juniors Hardman Resources and Jacka Resources Australia. Justyn has explored for oil and gas all over the world and is recognised as having played leading roles in unlocking significant value, particularly in the frontier basins of the East African Rift and the Guiana basins of NE South America. Through these and other projects, he is estimated to have directly and indirectly contributed circa US$20 billion to the global upstream oil and gas industry.
Justyn holds a B.Sc App(Geophysics) from University of Queensland and a Grad Cert (App Fin & Inv) from Securities Institute of Australia and has completed director training at AICD. Justyn is a member of SEG, AAPG and PESA.
M: +61 (0)410 626 261
Non Executive Director
A geologist and former Shell and Schlumberger senior executive, Andrew has over 25 years’ world-wide experience in conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon exploration, appraisal and development projects main CSG-LNG project proponents in Australia. Andrew is also a non-executive Director of National Energy Resources Australia and reviewer for the IEA’s World Energy Outlook series.
President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Albemarle Corporation (NYSE)
J Kent Masters, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Albemarle Corporation (NYSE). He was the Chief Executive Officer of Foster Wheeler AG until the acquisition by Amec in 2015.
Prior to joining Foster Wheeler, Mr Masters was a member of the executive board of The Linde Group AG. In that position he had direct responsibility for the Linde businesses in the Americas, Africa, the South Pacific, central marketing, research and development and research and development and the global business unit Healthcare.
Prior to Linde, Mr Masters was an executive director of The BOC Group, plc and Chief Executive of BOC’s Industrial and Specialty Products business.
He received his Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a MBA in Finance from New York University.
Founder and Principal Lanstrom Advisors Hainan China
A U.S. Citizen and geologist by training, Bert has over 40 years of global business experience E&P global business development, business strategy, design and launch of businesses start-ups, acquisitions and disposals and investment financing.
Among his many corporate achievements, Bert was a key contributor to Dolphin Energy transnational gas pipeline (Qatar-UAE) on behalf of Enron, from inception (Sept 1999) to completion of first seminal agreement in 2001.
As Sr. VP Strategy and Corporate Development at Mubadala Oil and Gas, a division of the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, responsibilities included planning/developing Mubadala’s E&P portfolio and executing M&A. Bert shaped strategic alliances/joint ventures with leading companies in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.
His achievements at Mubadala include acquisition and transitional management of Pearl Energy creation and launch of:
President, Kornbluth Helium Consulting New Jersey USA
Phil Kornbluth is the founder and President of Kornbluth Helium Consulting, LLC, a helium-focused consultancy that advises clients on all commercial aspects of the Global Helium Business.
Phil is recognized as one of the world’s foremost commercial experts in the Global Helium Business. He has been employed by several leading industrial gas companies over the last 37 years, including The BOC Group, plc (BOC), the Matheson Gas subsidiary of Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation (TNSC) and Global Gases Group FZE, and has worked in various roles related to the Helium Business for the last 35 years.
While at both BOC and TNSC, Phil held executive positions that included general management and P&L responsibility for their global helium businesses. As VP, Global Helium at BOC, Phil led BOC’s Helium Business to a co-#1 worldwide position in the industry. Phil has been a frequent speaker on helium-related topics at industry conferences, has contributed to and authored numerous helium-related articles and has made important contributions to U.S. helium legislation passed in 1996 and 2013.
Head, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Jame Cook University Australia
Eric Roberts is an Associate Professor and the Head of Earth and Environmental Sciences at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. He is a sedimentary geologist/stratigrapher interested in frontier Mesozoic–Cenozoic basins of Africa. He has spent the last 18 years investigating portions of the East African Rift System, with a particular focus on the Rukwa Rift Basin. He has also conducted basin studies throughout Australia, North America, and Asia. He specialises in facies and architectural element analysis, geochronology and sedimentary provenance.
Executive Director Durum Energy Institute Durum University UK
Jon Gluyas is a geologist with 28 years’ experience in the petroleum industry and a further 10 years’ experience in academia. He is based at Durham University, UK. Since joining academia Jon has worked on CCS, geothermal energy, human induced seismicity and in particular on helium exploration. It was back in 1999 when Jon first recognised the potential for helium co-production with methane but it was not until he joined academia that he was able to team up with Chris Ballentine at Oxford University and together develop and test an exploration strategy for helium. That strategy was tested in 2015 with spectacular results. Work in the Tanzanian Rift Basin confirmed the presence of helium seeps with up to 10% helium, around 30 times more concentrated than the generally accepted commercially viable concentration of 0.3%.
In recent years Jon has also worked on near surface subsidence, inflation and seismicity caused by human activity; oil and gas operations, mining, water abstraction, water impoundment and other large scale fluid changes in the near subsurface.
Jon is a past president of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain, past chairman of the British Geological Survey and Earth Science Teachers association as well as a former member of the Geological Society’s ruling council.
Chair of Geochemistry Oxford University UK
Chris Ballentine has over 30 years of experience in tracing the origin, migration and entrapment of helium and related crustal gases. He is the Chair of Geochemistry and the current Head of Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford, UK.
Chris has made fundamental contributions to geology, from planetary to local scales. He has developed new geochemical gas tracer techniques that identify geofluid origins and mixing, the physical processes operating on the fluids, the timing of process, and quantifying fluid and mass fluxes. His application of these to fluid migration in the crust has quantified and led to a new understanding of:
Industry research partners have included BP, Anadarko, Oxy, Exxon-Mobil, Total, Government agency partners include the US Geological Survey and the Canadian Nuclear Waste Authority. His work was recognised by the 2016 Eni Award, the most prestigious international award in the field. Other work has advanced our understanding of the origin of gases and volatile elements in the Earth’s mantle, the dynamic evolution of the deep Earth and the origin of the atmosphere, and provided a new understanding of how planets can support subsurface microbial life on planetary timescales.
Chris is the Past President of the European Association for Geochemistry, a Fellow of the UK Geological Society and of the AGU. He currently sits on the Board of Governors of AGU, a science society supporting an academic and industry community of some 65,000 members.