Construction Of South Africa’s First Commercial Helium Plant Set to Begin
Alternative and renewable energy business Renergen has revealed that the construction of the Virginia Gas Project; South Africa’s first commercial liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquid helium plant is set to begin soon.
Located in Free state, Virginia Gas Project is said to contain one of the richest helium concentrations recorded globally.
Renergen CEO Stefano Marani earlier spoke to the Gas world disclosing that unlike many helium deposits across the world, the one found in Virginia Gas Project is unique in that the methane gas is bacterial in origin meaning it could be regenerating. Because of this, the life of the mine is going to be longer.
The project will see South Africa become the first African commercial helium producer. The Southern African country will also join the list as the eighth country in the world to export natural gas.
The emerging liquefied natural gas and helium producer made known the appointment of Chinese equipment company Western Shell Cryogenic Equipment Co. (WSCE) and EPCM Bonisana for the supply of equipment for the plant and installation of pipeline respectively.
“We look forward to seeing Renergen and WSCE making liquid natural gas and liquid helium in South Africa a reality,” the company said in a statement.
The project will be done in two phases; the first phase involves the development of 12 existing wells, in addition to some new wells. The second phase involves the expansion of the helium volumes available.
The project is expected to be operational as from 2021 with the production of 2,700 GJ per day of LNG and 350 kg per day of liquid helium.
Helium is one of the most valuable gases on Earth and has various uses ranging from rocket fuel to MRI scanners.
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