BOC is expanding its global helium network with a new distribution center opening in Dubai.

From this location, BOC's first venture in the United Arab Emirates, BOC will ship gaseous and liquid helium to customers in the Middle East and Asia.

BOC will ship liquid helium from its new contracted source in Qatar, which commenced production in September, to Dubai. BOC's distribution center is located in Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone in close proximity to the Jebel Ali port. This port is one of the ten busiest in the world for container traffic.

BOC's distribution facility will manage the logistics for all shipments to and from the Qatar source. It will also prepare empty helium containers for filling before they are shipped to Qatar and check the condition of full helium containers before they are loaded at the Jebel Ali port for their journey to Asian markets. The Dubai facility also will have the ability to perform routine repairs on containers, a capability BOC may also offer to third-parties.

Phil Kornbluth, senior vice president, global helium, said: \\$quot;Our new Dubai distribution center will help streamline our supply chain for helium deliveries from the new source in Qatar.

“It will reassure our Asian and Middle Eastern customers that deliveries from Qatar will be every bit as reliable as deliveries have been from the U.S. sources that previously supplied their demand.”

Most helium is extracted from natural gas. Since the mid 1960s, the majority of helium, some 85 per cent, has traditionally been sourced in the U.S., with significant exports to overseas markets. BOC operates one of the world's largest helium refining facilities in Otis, Kansas and also has access to helium produced from other US sources in Wyoming and Utah. Going forward, it is anticipated that U.S. production will eventually decline, with most new sources likely to be developed outside of the U.S.

BOC's source in Qatar, located in Qatar's Ras Laffan Industrial City, is the first and only helium source in the Middle East. This source processes natural gas from Qatar's huge North Field, the largest, non-associated gas field in the world. Qatar possesses the world's third largest natural gas reserves behind Russia and Iran.