Helium One’s future looks even brighter with the recent £2.55m ($3.20m) investment from Solo Oil plc.

In 2016, Helium One Ltd emerged from accidental discovery when Tanzania resident Josh Bluett, now Technical Director of Helium One, discovered that the helium concentrations in Tanzania were among the highest he had seen.

With concerns evolving over a gradually depleting helium reserve and simultaneous demand growth, this breakthrough was one of the most welcomed new developments in the global helium business.

Since identifying the countries potential, the young company has put together an experinced Board of Directors including the founders of Ophir Energy Plc, the company that began the offshore East Africa natural gas boom, and now also holds 23 Helium Prospecting Licences in Tanzania, including licences over the Rukwa Project with a most likely unrisked prospective recoverable helium volume of 98.9 bcf (as reported by NSAI).

The company is currently developing what could possibly be a long-term, globally significant source of helium.

Confirming the longevity of Helium One is natural resources investment company, Solo Oil, who has just announced that it has agreed to acquire a 10% interest in Helium One for a total consideration of £2.55m ($3.20m).

Solo has also been granted a 90-day call option to increase its investment in Helium One by a further 10%, for an additional investment of £4m ($5m), which would increase its stake to 20%.

Neil Ritson, Solo’s Chairman commented, “Solo has successfully invested in bringing several gas projects to market in Tanzania which are now reaching maturity from an investment viewpoint. Given the related pricing of petroleum gas and helium, which is globally in short supply, Solo has for some time been investigating opportunities in the helium sector. Helium One’s portfolio of prospective helium projects in Tanzania provide Solo with a unique early stage investment into a potentially world-scale helium resource. The Company believes that Rukwa, together with Helium One’s additional project areas at Eyasi and Balangida, represent an attractive strategic investment, especially given the helium market’s weak supply dynamics and continued demand growth.”

Helium supply is concentrated in only a few markets globally, mainly Algeria, Australia, Russia, Qatar and the USA. The USA dominated the market throughout the twentieth century, however, with the US government’s decision to relinquish control of its assets, the majority of global helium production will come as a by-product from other gas producing streams.

The use of helium is essential in many modern industries, ranging from cryogenics (including use in MRI scanners), to lifting and electronic applications. As these industries grow, in conjunction with many others, the demand for helium which has been rising rapidly for the last decade is set to continue. Helium cannot be readily substituted due to its unique properties being inert, non-toxic, and lighter than air and with an incredibly low boiling point of minus 269 degrees centigrade (just 4 degrees above absolute zero).

This investment is just another step forward in Helium One’s ambitious plans to open up a new helium supply stream in the years ahead.