It is common to hear about exploitation of oil and gas, which has been taking place over a century.  But it is rare to hear about exploitation of Helium. We at PMG has recently been helping one of our clients to evaluate well productivity aimed to exploit Helium in Saskatchewan/Canada

What is the character of Helium?

Helium is relatively scarce on Earth, even though it is the second-most common element in the universe. It is a non-toxic, colorless, odorless, tasteless, inert, monatomic gas.  It is the first noble gas in the periodic table of elements, and its boiling point is the lowest among all the elements.  These properties make helium absolutely unique – there is no substitute, and no natural or manufactured replacement for it.

Helium cannot be recovered from a landfill, and it is prohibitively expensive to extract from the atmosphere because its concentration is so low. Today, all commercial helium supply on earth comes from underground reservoirs, in which helium produced by the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium is concentrated and trapped over hundreds of millions of years.

What are the uses of Helium:

Helium is used in advanced medical imaging equipment like MRIs, providing the super cooling needed for the creation of powerful magnetic fields by these devices.  What else?  Helium is required for the manufacture of semiconductors, fibre optics, liquid crystal displays and many other applications.  If you ever use a computer or an Internet connection, helium was required to make the equipment and components necessary to make these products and systems work.

Economics of Helium Exploitation

Helium is found in gas reservoirs that typically contain 95% Nitrogen and only 1% to 2% Helium.   Is this economics??!  Surprisingly yes… Apparently the price of helium is U$S375 per Mcf compared to natural gas price of US$ 2 to 3/Mcf