A gas primed for expansion 

Helium is a unique commodity that’s vital for the modern world. Not only that, it is also a commodity that provides compelling economics to owners of helium resources as demand is currently larger than supply and that is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, especially in North America.

Key Benefits of Helium

Helium has a set of characteristics not found together in other commodities, making it invaluable for modern technological and industrial applications. Its unique properties enable it to solve specialized problems better than other commodities, and in many situations, it is the only solution.

Inert (Noble Gas)

Helium is a noble gas. It will not react or explode, making it highly valuable for creating pure, non-reactive environments for manufacturing and research.

Non-toxic

Very low health, safety, security, and environmental risks to humans, plants, and animals

Lighter than air

3.6x lighter than air, generating tremendous lift capabilities

Gaseous above -272°C

Helium is the only element suited to super-cooling, super-fluidity, and super-conductivity in many applications

Small molecular size

As the smallest of the noble gases, helium is widely used for leak detection

Helium scarcity

Helium is a non-renewable, finite resource. That being said, helium is estimated to be 24% of the universe’s mass. While abundant in the universe, on earth it makes up only 0.00052%, and is the only element that can escape the earth’s atmosphere. As a result, it can only be found on earth when it is trapped.

Helium market

Helium has an opaque marketplace where raw helium purchases are controlled by four main global gas competitors who account for ~85% of the market. These groups buy raw helium from energy extraction companies through private contracts.

This wholesale market is very different from commodities like oil and natural gas that have a number of central benchmark prices, such as North America’s West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for oil or the Henry Hub Natural Gas Spot Price for natural gas.

The helium market has changed over time. In past years, 25% of the global helium market was supplied from reserves administered by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and industry groups relied on the benchmark prices at public auctions. However, due to the 1996 Privatization Act, the BLM no longer provides auctions and public pricing data.

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How this creates investment opportunities

The end users of helium, such as high-tech developers, hospitals and scientists, rely on an affordable and stable supply of helium for day-to-day tasks as well as exciting, world-changing discoveries.

This is why Imperial Helium has put a great emphasis on our ability to move from asset acquisition to helium production in a rapid time period.

By focusing early on both building a technically sound and financially savvy internal management team and a best in class strategic alliance, we are in a great position to help meet the demand shortfall so that important medical, scientific, technological and industrial advancements are not impeded.

More About Helium

Where does it come from?

He₄ constitutes more than 99.999% of all helium on earth. He₄ (99.999% of helium on earth) is a product of radioactive decay of heavy elements such as thorium (Th) and uranium (U). It is created underground in a basement rock that is fractured and faulted to provide escape routes. Because helium is such a small, light molecule, the vast majority of it escapes the earth’s crust and atmosphere. However, a small percentage is trapped when porous, sedimentary rocks above the basement faults are capped by an impermeable seal of shale, halite or anhydrite. It is this helium that the world relies on for supply.

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How is it harvested?

Helium is typically found in combination with other gases such as methane and nitrogen. Once the gases are produced from gas wells, they are separated and purified by cryogenics, pressure swing adsorption, or a combination of both. The desired percentage of helium varies by use case.

What is it used for?

Controlled environments

Helium’s inert nature makes it essential for creating controlled environments in semiconductor and fiber optics manufacturing, aerospace applications, and more.

Super-cooling and cryogenics

Irreplaceable for advanced technological devices (i.e. MRI scanners)

Blimps (dirigibles) and balloons

Leak detection

Pipeline leak detection, pressure vessel testing and purging

Other

Research and medical applications, diving, etc

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