10,000th Helium transport; Qatargas secures another milestone

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Qatar Gas Plant Image
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World’s largest liquefied natural gas company, Qatargas Operating Company Limited (Qatargas) touched a significant milestone when it transported 10,000th cargo of helium from its Helium-2 plant. 

Qatar’s helium production, storage and loading facilities are currently managed and operated by Qatargas with plants in Ras Laffan Industrial City (Ras Laffan), located 80 kilometers north of Doha.

The Helium 1 and 2 plants, operated by Qatargas currently have a combined production capacity of 2.2 billion standard cubic feet (bscf) per year. With the commissioning of the Helium-3 plant in 2021, Qatargas will account for almost 35 percent of world helium production with an overall production capacity of 2.6 bscf per year.

Qatargas’ Helium Plants

Qatargas’ Helium 1 Plant began its operations in September 2005. Helium 2 Plant, which is touted as the largest helium production unit in the world began its production in June 2013. Helium 2 Plant transported its 5000th cargo in May 2017.

Helium, a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas has high-value applications in science, medicine and high-tech industries, including semiconductors, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), space exploration and fiber optics.

Helium is also used to detect leaks, such as in-car air-conditioning systems, and because it diffuses quickly it is used to inflate car airbags after impact.

Global demand for helium is expected to grow at 2-3% per annum supported by the growing demand from the healthcare industry.