Irkutsk Oil Company, Russia’s largest privately-owned independent oil producer, has announced plans to build a 10 million litre (266 MMCF) per year liquid helium plant in the Irkutsk Region of Siberia.

The company broke the news from the sidelines of gasworld’s Helium Summit 2018 in Houston, Texas, where 30 key stakeholders in the global helium business have gathered under the theme of Transitioning to Life Beyond the BLM.

Preview: Transitioning to life beyond the BLM

The new plant will be built at the Yaraktinsky Field, around 200km north of the city of Ust-Kut, in the Irkutsk Region of Russia. Its location should make it an ideal source of helium for the Chinese market, as well as Korea and Japan.

The plant is expected to be commissioned in early 2021.

Feedgas for the helium plant will be obtained as a by-product of natural gas processing. Irkutsk Oil Company controls natural gas deposits that contain an estimated 300 million cubic meters (11 BCF) of helium reserves, primarily in the Yaraktinsky and Markovsky fields.

Irkutsk Oil Company recently signed a contract with Pennsylvania-based Cryo Technologies for the supply of the plant’s helium purification and liquefaction equipment. Cryo Technologies is a leading independent supplier of cryogenic helium purifiers and liquefiers based in Allentown and offers unique process equipment and cryogenic solutions to customers worldwide.

Stay up-to-date with all the latest news, views and developments at the Global Helium Summit 2018 via the gasworld website, updated throughout the event.

About Irkutsk Oil Company

Irkutsk Oil Company is an upstream oil and gas producer in East Siberia, Russia. The company is implementing a gas utilisation project which separates gas into components for enhanced monetization. Gas separation plants are supplied by Honeywell UOP.

Irkutsk Oil Company is also planning to build a Polymer Plant with annual capacity of 650,000 tons of polyethylene.