Why Invest in Noble Helium?

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 19% of all helium production and forecast to grow to 28% over the next 5 years. MRI machines/cryogenics already consume 22% and welding 17%. NASA and commercial rockets cannot launch without helium and 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.

Helium Demand

Estimated worldwide helium demand in 2021 was 5.9 BCF, with demand in 2022, expected to complete its recovery from COVID and grow to 6.2 BCF. Despite persistent media misinformation about helium demand growth, demand for helium in 2022 will not be much different than it was in 2011 or 2019.

During that period of 11 years, the market experienced Helium Shortage 2.0, which lasted from 2011 – 2013 and resulted in price increases of roughly 100%, a period of over-supply during 2014 – 2015 (prices came down by ~25%), balanced markets in 2016 – 2017, Helium Shortage 3.0 in 2018 and 2019, when prices doubled again, with COVID impacting the market in 2020 and, to a lesser extent in 2021.

The global helium supply is at a critical crossroad for the first time since helium became so important in support of technological and economic development

The Noble Helium team has developed a plan to meet the urgent need for a new helium reserve for the immediate future and for the balance of this century. This will be achieved through an internationally recognised team of experts in hydrocarbon and helium exploration, supported by the best strategic and marketing expertise.

We are encouraged by the understanding of investors to support companies such as ours who are focused on enabling delivery of responsible, planet and climate safe technologies. We see an amazing opportunity in delivering this global imperative. In closing, we are encouraged by the understanding of investors to support companies such as ours who are focused on the delivery of a responsible plan in support of a clean climate safe planet through 21st century technologies that cannot happen without the unique enabling factors of HELIUM.

We see an amazing opportunity in delivering this global imperative. While helium is the most abundant element in the universe, it is also the most challenging to find and produce in commercial quantities on the earth (hence, the use of the word “scarcity”).

Key achievements in our 4 years of preparation

  • Brought together a unique team of world-renowned talent, all experts in helium, geology exploration, business, the gas industry, start-ups and marketing.
  • Developed a complete understanding of the helium market at all levels.
  • Built a comprehensive business model and strategy.
  • Built a large data base of critical information.
  • Established excellent relationships with major upstream, midstream and downstream players.
  • Secured our licences in Tanzania.
  • Achieved independent certification of our Helium Prospective Resource, conducted by Netherland Sewell of Houston, who are recognised as one of the leading global certifiers.
  • Secured the rights to a unique IP: a global atlas showing all potential geology capable of major untapped helium resources across the entire world, built by geoscientists from Oxford and Durham Universities – Professor Gluyas, Durum University and Professor Ballentine, Oxford University. Noble Helium have secured a 3+5 year exclusive to the World’s first and only Helium Atlas.
  • Identified our future target jurisdictions beyond Tanzania.
  • Engaged with Universities in Australia, Tanzania and the UK on various helium initiatives.

Our team are all enthusiastically involved and passionately committed to the necessity and importance of delivering security of supply, price, and future demand. Helium is vital to todays and tomorrow’s technology, much of which cannot be produced without it. Noble Helium is now poised to take the Tanzanian project to proof, as our next major step.

Why Noble Helium is the right investment at the right time

Our decision to invest in exploration and production of helium gas is founded on a deep appreciation of the vital role helium plays as the unique enabler of the high technology powering the global economy.

In fact, the vision for a sustainable future and a zero-carbon world may pivot on the reliable, long-term supply of helium.

The importance of Critical Raw Materials to the global economy has never been in sharper focus. This has been precipitated by China’s use of Rare Earth Elements as a bargaining chip in the economic trade war with the US.

Key components of our primary helium focused exploration are

  • Our ground-up, geology-based search for primary reserves has identified one of the few sites with the unique geology required for discovery of material primary helium reserves (for future production, independent of natural gas supply constraints, (Green Helium).
  • Prospecting Licences secured with government over the most prospective of Tanzanian rift basins, which possess extraordinary potential – arguably the best licences on the planet.
  • Since first oil in the East African Rift basins in 2006, an extraordinary 80% exploration drilling success rate has been demonstrated for oil and gas in Uganda and Kenya, with one play type demonstrating a 100% success rate (14 oil and gas discoveries from 14 exploration wells).
  • We are focusing on this proven play type in Tanzania for another gas – helium – which is seeping from the ground at extraordinary concentrations of up to 10% (commercial at 0.3%).
  • Similar cost base to conventional oil and gas exploration, but helium’s high value, currently trading at up to 50 times the price of re-gasified LNG in Northeast Asia, makes for a high margin project.
  • Integrates with the vision of an Energy Transition shared by some oil and gas majors.
  • The exploration and extraction methods are virtually identical to oil and gas. There is a shift in Helium resources exploration to locating and establishing an alternative primary helium resource.

The Game Changer: Shutdown of the US (BLM) Helium Reserve 2019

For most of the 20th century, the USA met 100% of the world’s helium requirements. Today, the US only meets 40% of the world’s helium demand, with nearly all U.S. production consumed in their domestic market. Due to the continued programmed depletion of the US BLM reserve and declining output of helium refining facilities linked to the BLM System, global reliance on supply from Qatar, Algeria and Russia continues to grow.

Qatar has been increasing helium supply (currently ~31% world demand) since 2005 to offset the US decline, but the Arabian Gulf embargo on Qatar in June 2017 removed this major supply overnight, demonstrating the fragility of the shifting global helium supply chain and its vulnerability to shock without the historical flexibility and security provided by the US reserve.

Again since 2018 we have seen shortages, though mitigated temporarily by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

China is the most vulnerable major consumer whenever shortages arise, as China’s geology has proved unfavorable for development of a domestic supply. They will become captive to Russia by 20223/ 2024, by that time China may well be the heading toward being the largest Helium consumer on earth.

Geo-Political Risk

By 2025, Qatar Russia and Algeria will control more than 60% of the world’s helium production. The shift from the US to these countries introduces major geo-political risks to the helium supply chain.

While Qatar’s production is fixed to LNG export, Russia’s Gazprom is likewise tied to pipeline gas exports, but will have the ability to take control of the market as the world’s swing producer.

The Risk-Managed Investment Opportunity

Noble Helium has established in Tanzania an (unrisked summed mean) Certified Prospective Resource (CPR) of 98Bcf (Billion Cubic Feet) across 7 structures, equivalent to 20 years’ current supply as a Primary Product, or 5 times the US Federal Helium Reserve was at peak capacity. This is in just the first of our 3 sedimentary basins under license (Figure 1). Annual World demand is 6 Bcf.

We seek investors with the capacity to invest in our project over the next 2 years to verify the scale of this resource, structured and phased to protect investors’ interests. Our Proof Program culminates in drilling 2 wells to demonstrate helium trapped within these basins at concentrations similar to the prolific and anomalous surface seeps (3-18% helium at rift-related hot springs), associated with mainly nitrogen. The possibility of a minor percentage of hydrocarbon gas by-product presents the opportunity for low-cost power generation at the Helium Liquefaction Plant.

The funds will be utilised to select the first wells to test this world-leading helium play, acquiring new, value-adding exploration data in Noble Helium’s licenced Tanzanian blocks and complementing the already expansive exploration data set. They will also be used to pay annual surface rentals, cover overheads and allow us to progress our global search program, in partnership with the world’s leading noble gas geoscientists, Professors Ballentine and Gluyas at Oxford and Durham Universities respectively.

Noble Helium has a well-developed program to de-risk the Tanzanian project, adapting decades of oil and gas exploration expertise to the search for another gas – helium. The 2022 program will deliver valuable exploration data, allowing us to select the two best prospects for the drilling of two exploration wells to deliver the Proof stage in 2023.

We are extremely confident that we are in the best place globally to test for large primary helium reserves. The East African Rift is unique, and in recent years has demonstrated an extraordinary 80% exploration drilling success rate for oil and gas (24/30 wells), compared to the global average of 30%. Noble Helium has the ambition and potential to become one of the world’s largest multi-jurisdiction primary helium producers. [Note: This is all good, but the implicit challenge is the lack of evidence that what works efficiently in a petroleum basin will work as well in a helium basin. Something like – The Rukwa Basin contains multiple direct analogues to these successful oil and gas features elsewhere in the Rift, only juxtaposed over rich helium sources rather than petroleum sources.]

Prices have tripled in the last 10 years. Helium currently trades in excess of $250/Mcf (vs LNG at ~US$5/Mcf). Supply chain disruption over the past decade has users craving stability that can only be delivered by diversification, ideally with an independent global scale resource capable of replacing the lost BLM reserve. This fact, coupled with concern about security of supply resulting from increasing reliance on production from Qatar and soon Russia and the closure of the U.S. government reserve in 2019, is driving interest in developing new sources of helium.

21st century technologies driving demand

Many technologies are dependent on a reliable supply of this unique and extremely scarce noble gas. Helium has only been known on earth for 100 years in which time new technologies have continued to emerge that leverage its unique physical properties and drive new demand. Starting with military surveillance in the 1920s and guided missiles in the cold war, helium then became critical to space exploration, semi-conductor and fibre optic cable production, nuclear medicine, specialist welding, lifting and leak detection. Major countries defence systems are dependent on these technologies that can only be enabled by Helium in their manufacturing or operation.

From the 1990s, cryogenics really took hold as superconducting magnets in MRI machines grew to consume some 30% of world supply. In the last two decades, helium has emerged as critical and irreplaceable. Helium is vital for the manufacture of nano-scale semiconductors used in computers, smart-phones and autonomous electric vehicles, smart TV’s and all major defence equipment. Aerospace consumption has also begun expanding rapidly, driven by privatisation and low-cost access to space. Bank of America/ JP Morgan (2017) is predicting the space industry will grow to US$3Trillion by 2050.

Stable Helium supply is critical and must be a treated as a global imperative for the future of our planet.

The solution: delivery of new large primary helium reserves

The 100-year-old method of recovering helium as a by-product from natural gas processing has served us well, but it does not provide flexibility and is unlikely to satisfy growth in demand beyond 2035. It is captive to the natural gas whose long-term future is limited, if we are to control CO2 emissions.

Due 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 2012 in Tanzania, Noble Helium has followed their lead and secured, potentially the world’s most prospective pure play helium acreage within the East African Rift Basins of Tanzania.

Within our licenced area Noble Helium expects to find very large volumes of helium not associated with natural gas, allowing the helium to be produced as a primary resource on a globally significant scale. Primary helium fields are being pursued in North America, but they are too small to have any impact. The potential scale in Tanzania is an order of magnitude greater and the development economics are compelling, as a result.

Already we have seeps of up to 10% at surface in our first project area, and this is up to 20 times the concentrations found in most “helium-rich” natural gas wells. We now have certification in the area (Certified Prospective Resources: CPRs) of 98 Bcf (unrisked) in the Northern Rukwa, which if proven would deliver a global resource that will ensure security of supply. This is from just 7 of our 24 Prospecting Licences.

Meanwhile, we plan to expand into other regions of the world where similar prospectivity may exist. We have the answers to where, from a global investigation commissioned by Noble Helium in co-operation with the Professors at Oxford and Durham Universities.

What’s coming?

The next major technological breakthroughs are approaching, which could dramatically increase helium demand over the balance of this century.

The world’s first self-sustaining fusion reactor is on schedule for First Plasma in 2025 in southern France. “ITER” is a US$20b international effort to demonstrate self-sustaining nuclear fusion and solve climate change with almost limitless, low-cost, zero-emission electricity generation.

Funded by Europe, Russia, Japan, USA, India, Korea and China, who also represent 80% of the world’s CO2 emissions, success in fusion power is the only viable power generation option for the future of our planet. ITER is not the only fusion project either – there are 16 others, including large corporates such as Lockheed Martin US, Commonwealth Fusion and other projects funded by Amazon, Google, Bill Gates and Soros to the tune of US$1.6b, the race is on!