It’s one thing to drill for helium (and that’s not particularly easy), but it’s another to ship it. Doing so means purifying and then liquefying it, if you want to get the most value out of the product.

With that in mind, the Government of Saskatchewan, in partnership with the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), is accelerating the development of helium processing and liquefaction hubs in the province by announcing a grant to assist in development.

The Ministry of Energy and Resources (ER) announced on March 17 it will support the SRC with a grant of $140,000 to complete a Helium Liquefaction Hub Study, which will incorporate technical and economic components and provide the critical information needed to develop a commercial scale, value-added, export-oriented helium sector in Saskatchewan.

“We are already home to Canada’s largest purification facility, near Battle Creek, and liquefaction is the crucial, next step, as we aim to supply ten per cent of global helium market share by 2030,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said in a release. “Only liquid helium can be exported overseas and as many end-users require liquid helium, a provincial liquefaction facility will improve both the marketability and pricing for Saskatchewan’s significant helium resources.”

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This comes at a time when economic sanctions against Russia due to its war on Ukraine are affecting numerous global commodity market. Russia is a major supplier of helium.

Saskatchewan has high helium concentrations and some of the most attractive geology in the world for low-emission helium production, the Ministry noted. Helium is a highly desirable commodity with no substitute and is used in medical research and diagnostics, semiconductor manufacturing, space exploration, fibre optics, nuclear power generation and other advanced technology sectors.

The ER grant will play a key role in achieving the targets laid out in Saskatchewan’s Helium Action Plan: From Exploration to Exports, expected to produce significant economic benefits for the province, including 15 new helium purification and liquefaction facilities, 500 new permanent jobs and annual helium exports worth more than $500 million.

The Hub Study will bring together helium stakeholders and help provide companies with the information they need to make major investment decisions, including around establishing Saskatchewan as a regional helium liquefaction hub in Western Canada and surrounding U.S. states. The study will also include helium supply volume forecasts from Saskatchewan, neighbouring provinces and states under different market scenarios and a ranking of specific site locations.

Currently there are four companies actively exploring for helium in Saskatchewan – North American Helium, Royal Helium, Global Helium and Helium Evolution.

This is one of a number of steps the province has taken to promote helium development. Last fall, the province announced its Helium Action Plan. It also released an extensive study into helium in the southern part of the province, done by assistant chief geologist Melinda Yurkowski.

Currently, helium is produced and purified in Saskatchewan, but must be sent to the United States for commercial scale liquefaction. Provincial liquefaction will also ensure that end-users in Canada have reliable access to liquid helium for critical equipment such as medical resonance imaging (MRI) machines.

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  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0020 Sk Oil Show PO Ad 02 speakers with voiceover
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0017 eventworx
  • 0016 Estevan Meter Services
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0015 Latus Viro PO Ad 01
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0009
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
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Helium in Saskatchewan, Part 1: Saskatchewan announces Helium Action Plan, with goal of 10 per cent of global production by 2030

Helium in Saskatchewan, Part 2: The role of incentives, and future revenue from helium development in Saskatchewan

Helium in Saskatchewan, Part 3: Our place in global production and minimizing environmental impact

Helium in Saskatchewan, Part 4: Helium development is entirely dependent on oil and gas expertise and services

Helium in Saskatchewan, Part 5: Getting into the helium wildcatting game: Global Helium

Helium in Saskatchewan, Part 6: Royal Helium finds helium in its first two targeted wells in southeast Saskatchewan

Helium in Saskatchewan, Part 7: Saskatchewan releases geological study into helium across southern part of province

Helium in Saskatchewan, Part 8: The nitty gritty on helium development, from an early mover in Saskatchewan’s play