Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, has today shipped the first container from its newest helium source, Helium II, operated by Ras Gas at the Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar.

Linde has secured long term rights to 30% of the output from this latest and largest helium source in the world, further demonstrating its commitment to ensure a steady supply of one of the world’s rarest and most sought-after gases.

Helium is critical to the manufacture and operation of MRI scanners as well as the manufacture of semiconductors, LCD screens and fibre optic cable. As it can only be economically produced from helium-rich natural gas sources, there are only a limited number of helium production facilities around the world. 

“Due to its unique properties, relative scarcity and global supply chain, helium is one of only a few industrial gases with a truly global market,” said Steve Penn, Global Head of Merchant and Packaged Gases, Linde Gases Division.

“We have therefore strengthened our supply base in Qatar building on our long-term commitment with the first plant there in 2005. Helium II further reinforces Linde’s position as having the most diverse helium sourcing portfolio in the industry, including sources in Algeria, Australia and the US.”

Hamad Rashid Al Mohannadi, RasGas Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of Qatar Petroleum (QP) said, “The Helium II plant, which broke ground in May 2010, is the second helium project to be built in Qatar, and we are very pleased to report that in over 5 million man hours worked to complete this project, we have maintained a lost time incident rate (LTIR) of zero. Achieving such a remarkable milestone is a clear testimony to RasGas’ commitment to creating and maintaining a safe work environment in a complex construction project that involved thousands of contractors and employees.”

Linde is investing over €35m in new containers to supply the additional helium from Helium II and its expanded source in Skikda, Algeria. Linde is also investing to expand its transfill and container staging facility in the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai to accommodate the growth. 

Over the past 10 years, Linde has invested heavily in new source development and long term commitments with third party producers. Along with Skikda, output from both Qatar plants and its own facility in Darwin, Australia, Linde will have brought to market more helium than any other company. Additionally, in December 2012, Russian company Gazprom Export and Linde signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stipulating cooperation to implement new helium production projects concurrently with the development of the Eastern Siberia gas fields. 

Helium II will support Linde’s global growth agenda, particularly in Asia. 

About The Linde Group

The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 62,000 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2012 financial year, Linde generated revenue of €15.280bn. The strategy of the group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. The company is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.