The Canadian province of Saskatchewan was at the heart of more positive news for the helium market on Tuesday (3rd May), with Avanti Energy having been granted three helium exploration permits for its exploration activities.

Totalling 63,000 acres, the acquired permits were granted from the Government of Saskatchewan and complement Avanti Energy’s existing holdings in Alberta, Canada, and Montana, US.

Each of the permits are in strategically targets areas for helium exploration, based on the company’s georgical models and technical assessment, and have had historical shallow oil and gas activity on or adjacent to them.

Genga Nadaraju, Vice-President of Subsurface at Avanti Energy, said, “With the permits in hand, the team can now start looking at acquiring seismic data, fine tune our geological mapping and put an exploration plan in motion.”

“Adding a complementary asset to our portfolio of high impact helium projects positions Avanti with the potential of providing an irreplaceable resource across geographic areas which is critical for applications such as semiconductor chip manufacturing, aerospace, MRI scanning, optical fibre manufacturing and nuclear power generation.”

It was announced earlier this year that helium processing and liquefaction hubs are key focus for Saskatchewan as the Canadian province continues on its mission to become a world leader in helium production and export over the next decade.

Further this, Bronwyn Eyre, Minister of Energy and Resources for the Saskatchewan Government, last year told gasworld’s Helium Super Summit that Saskatchewan has the fifth-largest helium resource in the world with significant underground reserves with some attractive geology and therefore wants to surpass 150 producing helium wells.

It is hoped that by making Saskatchewan a leader in the helium market, the province will experience great economic benefits, such as 15 new helium purification and liquefaction facilities, 500 new permanent jobs and annual helium exports worth more than $500m.

Read more: Saskatchewan boosts helium sector with liquefaction hub study