Qatar closes helium plants amid rift with Arab powers
DOHA/DUBAI (Reuters) — Qatar, the world's second largest helium producer, has closed its two helium production plants because of the economic boycott imposed on it by other Arab states, industry sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
The helium plants operated by RasGas, a subsidiary of state-owned Qatar Petroleum, were shut because Saudi Arabia closed its border with Qatar, blocking overland exports of the gas, a Qatar Petroleum official told Reuters.
The official declined to be named under briefing rules. Phil Kornbluth, head of US-based industry consultants Kornbluth Helium Consulting said his sources had confirmed the closure.
The two plants have a combined annual production capacity of approximately 2 Bcf of liquid helium and can meet about 25% of total world demand for the gas, according to RasGas' website.
Among its uses, helium is used to cool superconducting magnets in medical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, as a lifting gas in balloons and airships, as a gas to breathe in deep-sea diving and to keep satellite instruments cool. It is derived from natural gas during processing.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar last week, accusing it of supporting terrorism, a charge which Doha denies.
Reporting by Tom Finn and Stephen Kalin; Editing by Andrew Torchia, editing by David Evans
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At October’s HPI Forecast Breakfast for our sister publication, <i>Hydrocarbon Processing</i>, I shared <i>Gas Processing</i>’s forecast on change in the LNG industry.
In one of the toughest markets in the history of gas compression, we are challenged to deliver more with less.
The New LNG Imperative
The shale gas boom established the US as the world’s leading natural gas producer and is responsible for billions of dollars of investments in the US gas processing industry. Since 2012, the US has witnessed unprecedented growth in new gas processing capacity and infrastructure. This rise is due to greater production of domestic shale gas, which is providing cheap, available feedstock to fuel the domestic gas processing, LNG and petrochemical industries. New gas processing projects include the construction of billions of cubic feet per day of new cryogenic and gas processing capacity, NGL fractionators, multi-billion-dollar pipeline infrastructure projects, and the development of millions of tons per year of new LNG export terminal construction. Attend this webcast to hear from Lee Nichols, Editor/Associate Publisher, Hydrocarbon Processing, Scott Allgood, Director-Data Services, Energy Web Atlas and Peregrine Bush, Senior Cartographic Editor, Petroleum Economist as they discuss the future of LNG and the application of Energy Web Atlas, a web-based GIS platform which allows users to track real-time information for every LNG project.
November 29, 2017 10am CST
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