Largest Canada Helium Producer to Build Helium "Cryohub™" in the Medicine Hat Area;
First Independent Industrial Gas Company to Export Liquid Helium to Asia
CALGARY, AB / ACCESSWIRE / November 1, 2017 / Weil Group Canada ("Weil") has identified nearly 2 billion cubic feet (BCF) of proven reserves of helium between its Saskatchewan and Alberta projects and is moving to commission a central helium liquefaction facility (CryoHub™) in Southern Alberta within the next 20 months.
"We have been in extensive discussions with Medicine Hat officials to locate our new CryoHub™ facility in the city and to develop helium resources in the region," said Weil CEO Jeff Vogt. "The city last month announced that it is undertaking helium exploration as part of its recently expanded drilling program. Therefore, this proposed facility would be a central hub to receive helium production from projects in both Alberta and Saskatchewan for liquefaction." Weil also has additional proven helium reserves nearby in Montana that could feed the facility.
"Thanks to our forward looking Growth Strategy, we were able to identify this opportunity and are pleased to support the Weil Group's plans to invest in Medicine Hat," said Mayor Ted Clugston. "This is a significant step in the Medicine Hat story. It demonstrates, once again, the unique benefits of our location and our City's ability to achieve economic diversification. Local business investment creates employment and future revenue for our City."
While transport logistics limit the market for helium gas production, liquid helium is exported worldwide. Weil is looking to bring on stream another 200 million cubic feet of annual supply with export opportunities to the U.S., Asia and Europe.
Weil is currently shipping liquid helium to customers in Asia through its U.S. liquefier partner on the U.S. federal helium reserve administered Bureau of Land Management (BLM) pipeline - a first for an independent gas company. Many Asian and U.S. companies are actively pursuing supply diversification to become less reliant on the major industrial gas companies. Unlike other world sources, Weil's projects are exclusively a helium source - not a byproduct tied to LNG Take-or-Pay requirements, which offers customers greater flexibility.
"We envision Medicine Hat as becoming the country's helium supply hub, and believe the city's infrastructure, location on the TransCanada highway, labor pool, and reliable power supply all make the city an ideal site for liquid helium production with Weil Group," said Vogt.
"The City of Medicine Hat Natural Gas & Petroleum Resources Division (NGPR) Growth Strategy, which is helping to drive our 'Return to Profitability,' has included, from the beginning, a component focused on the economic discovery and extraction of helium. The processing and marketing of that helium have potential synergy with the Weil Group's established production presence in Western Canada and the possible construction of an upgrading facility ("Cryohub") within the City of Medicine Hat. We look to further that ambition over the next year," said NGPR General Manager Brad Maynes.
Weil was the first in 60 years to bring commercial grade helium on stream in Canada, when it began operations in its Mankota, Saskatchewan helium purification facility in early 2016. Weil has been active in Canada since 2012 and has continued extensive exploration and development in search of the increasingly rare element where Weil sees significant multi-BCF resource potential. "Given our history and knowledge of the area, we feel that Canada will become a world-class helium producer in just a few years," said Vogt.
"Helium's growing market and delicate supply chain story is a unique one," said Vogt. "We are excited to play a collaborative role in developing this niche commodity in Canada, particularly as the U.S. BLM helium reserves facility in Amarillo, Texas winds down." He added, "Helium is a clean, inert gas, an export product, and its uses are expanding, serving unique high-tech applications in MRIs, fiber optics and semiconductor chip manufacturing."
The BLM's "Cliffside" Amarillo, Texas facility, which once accounted for over 50% of the world's supply, will be essentially shuttered by 2021, according to the 2013 Helium Stewardship Act in the US. Weil testified before the U.S. Congress in 2013, alongside the majors, to encourage exploration for this critical resource.
Weil's Mankota, Saskatchewan plant, manufactured by Munich's Linde Engineering Group, was the first of its kind in the world and was featured in Linde's 2016 global annual report as an example of innovation and collaboration. Linde Group, a $30 billion dollar industrial gas leader worldwide, and several independent distributors, currently buy gas from Weil's facility for use in various commercial applications.
While Saskatchewan has a regulatory framework for helium production, the Group awaits a similar regulatory framework from the Alberta Government to fully activate its pipeline of helium projects in the region.
About Weil Group Canada
Weil Group Canada, a division of Weil Group Resources, LLC, was founded by energy sector executives devoted to the exploration, development, and production of untapped energy and commodity assets. Focused on underdeveloped resources in global energy and other resource projects, Weil Group is active in Canada, the United States, and has had prior projects in Colombia, South America and throughout the Philippine archipelago. More information can be found at www.weil-group.com.
Office: (403) 984-5232
Cell: (403) 910-1235
SOURCE: Weil Group Canada