As demand for helium continues to grow, the market last week saw a breakthrough moment when what is believed to be the world’s largest logistic centre for the servicing of helium containers came onstream in Russia.
Owned and operated by Gazprom, the centre will deliver liquid helium produced at the Amur Gas Processing Plant (GPP), via cryogenic containers, to the wider helium market, acting as a key link in the logistics chain for supply.
Ensuring a smooth supply chain, the hub will provide servicing for each container that has been sent to GPP has undergone numerous checks. Each container is designed to maintain a 269°C temperature to keep the helium in its liquid state.
Container transportation services will be provided by the in-house vehicle fleet of Gazprom Helium Service. Each truck features air suspension for space transportation and runs on eco-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG) which is also produced on-site.
It was back in June when Gazprom announced the start-up of the second train of its Amur GPP in the far southeast of Russia. Today, the first of three helium separation, liquefaction and packaging units are now online.
Together, the unit has an annual capacity of 20 million cubic metre of helium. As soon as the Amur GPP reaches its design capacity, it will them produce 60 million cubic meters of helium per year, becoming what Gazprom say will be the global leader in helium production.
On the developments, Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Board of Directors, said, “The hub will have the capacity to perform more than 4,000 operations with thermally-insulated containers per year.”
“This is an unprecedented figure, as there are currently only 2,000 thermally-insulated cryogenic containers in the world, which collectively carry all of the helium produced worldwide.”
“Starting from today, the entire process chain – from producing helium at the Amur Gas Processing Plant to delivering it to consumers – is up and running.”