East Siberian oil producer Irkutsk Oil will sell helium to German energy company Uniper as part of a new deal.

The two companies have signed a long-term helium sales and purchase agreement for the offtake of a portion of the liquid helium from Irkutsk Oil’s future helium production from the Yaraktinsky field.

The plant near Ust-Kut in the Irkutsk region in Russia is currently under construction, with a scheduled start of production at the end of 2021.

The Yaraktinsky plant is expected to produce approximately 10 million litres per year of bulk liquid helium when it reaches full capacity.

“Irkutsk Oil is excited to become one of the world’s small number of primary helium producers,” said Yuriy Rubin, Irkutsk Oil’s Deputy CEO, Project Finance and Investments.

“We are pleased to have a reliable partner like Uniper, with a growing presence in the helium business, as one of our initial long term contract customers for helium.”