Linde and Gazprom have signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement for the off-take of helium from Gazprom’s new Amur helium plant in Svobodny in the Far East of Russia. Currently, the plant is under construction as part of the development of Gazprom’s “Power of Siberia” gas project; formerly known as Yakutia–Khabarovsk–Vladivostok pipeline. The first supplies of helium are targeted for 2021.
Linde will become a purchaser of significant volumes of helium from this production facility. Linde’s Engineering Division is the licenser for the cryogenic gas separation technology and will engineer and supply units for ethane and natural gas liquids (NGL) extraction and nitrogen rejection, as well as for helium purification, liquefaction, and storage. The project represents a unique logistics undertaking with the plant being located some 1,500 km from the ports of export in and around Vladivostok.
Helium can only be economically produced from helium-rich natural gas sources; there are only a limited number of helium production facilities around the world. The Chayandinskoye field, together with other resources owned by Gazprom in the East Siberian region, forms one of the largest reservoirs of helium in the world. The Amur helium plant will become a significant new source of helium when it is fully operational. Chayandinskoye will be the first field in Russia where a membrane technology of helium recovery from natural gas will be used during commercial production. This makes it possible to pump as much helium into the gas pipeline as the market demands.