The Result of Russo-Ukrainian War: Helium Shortage 4.0

gazprom helium

Helium users are suffering the effects of Russo-Ukrainian War and the crisis is getting bigger every day. Sanctions on Russia add to troubles facing global helium industry. Algeria, Qatar, US and now Russia. Welcome Helium Shortage 4.0!

helium usage
Source: visualcapitalist.com

Semiconductor manufacturers and doctors rely on Helium for semiconductor business and medical procedures like MRI. And now they are scared because the war in Ukraine makes the Helium shortage worse.

Helium Crisis

At 2021, US Bureau of Land Management decided to tighten up Helium markets by shutting down the production by starting a four month maintenance at the BLM’s crude helium enrinchment unit.

us helium

But Helium markets were counting on Russia to take the seat of US. Because Gazprom’s Amur Facility was going to begin pumping tons of helium into the market. But just after they started producing Helium, they experienced a fire on October 8 and then a second one at January 5.

But like it wasn’t enough, Russia decided to invade Russia with no reason at all. Production shutdown in Algeria, US maintenance, Qatar maintenance and sanctions on Russia are the causes of Helium Shortage 4.0.

Check President of Kornbluth Helium Consulting, Phil Kornbluth’s comments about Helium Shortage for more information.

Helium market has to wait for US and Qatar to start producing to end this shortage. Tough times await semiconductor manufacturers…

Helium Production Shutdown in Algeria

Due to the Russo-Ukrainian War, Europe turned to Algeria for natural gas. Algeria produces Helium as an extract while compressing natural gas into liquid form. But due to the high demand on natural gas, Algeria started to send all the natural gas to the Spain by pipeline. They no longer compress natural gas into liquid and that’s why they don’t produce Helium any more.

Helium Production in Russia

The first of the 3 helium separation, liquefaction and packaging units of the Amur Gas Processing Plant (Amur GPP) Project, which was built by the Russian Federation near the town of Svobodny in the Amur Region, was commissioned with a ceremony held on September 03, 2021. The unit has an annual production capacity of 20 million cubic meters of helium.

gazprom helium
Gazprom Helium Production

The plant receives multicomponent gas from the Chayandinskoye field in Yakutia via the natural gas pipeline called Power of Siberia. As construction progresses, gas will also be taken from the Kovyktinskoye field in Irkutsk, with the plant reaching a gas processing capacity of 42 billion cubic meters per year.

Defined as the world’s largest logistics center in the field of energy, Amur GPP will be able to perform 4,000 operations per year. Today, the number of thermally insulated vehicles that can carry liquid helium in the world is limited to 2,000. 2.4 million tons of ethane per year when the plant operates at full capacity; It will be able to produce 1.5 million tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and 200,000 tons of pentane-hexane.

The primary consumer of ethane and LPG produced at the facility will be the Amur Gas Chemical Complex, a joint venture between Chinese Sinopec and Russia-based petrochemical company SÄ°BUR. Helium, which has a strong demand in high-tech industries, is attracting more and more attention, especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

Amur JES will carry out the loading acceptance, weight control and technical preparations so that the helium to be transported in thermally insulated containers can be transported more efficiently by ships. Thermally insulated containers, designed to keep the temperature at minus 269 degrees Celsius, serve to keep helium in liquid form.

Container transportation services are provided by the helium hub operator Gazprom Helium Service’s own vehicle fleet. Specially designed for Gazprom and powered by liquefied natural gas, the Kamaz-5490 Neo freight trucks use air suspension to safely transport helium.

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