gasworld can exclusively reveal that fledgling Australian helium prospector Noble Helium, the world’s first global pure-play helium exploration and production company, has launched an international search for new deposits of the precious element.
Zeroing in on the East African Rift Valley in Tanzania for its initial major probe, Noble Helium has secured first rights to 6,115 square kilometers of mineral exploration rights in the country, through its 100%-owned Tanzanian subsidiary.
Walter Jennings, Chairman of Noble Helium, Walter Jennings, toldgasworld that the company’s development strategy in Tanzania is aimed at commercial reality by 2024 and represented the biggest investment opportunity in 100 years of helium exploration.
“Since launch two years ago, Noble Helium has secured funding to get to Certified Prospective Resources (CPR) expected in Q2 this year; established an international team of hydrocarbon helium exploration experts and business experts to oversee the project; researched existing resources and future markets; and gained access to the right geology in the East African Rift Valley,” he said.
Jennings said the next step was to define and independently certify the resource base and further refine the basin structures and their potential helium content with airborne geophysical and land-based geochemical surveys.
“Beyond that is a two-year work programme, including 3D seismic searches and exploration wells, to prove and define the helium reserves,” he said. “Our prospective licences cover more than 6,115 square kilometers of the Rukwa basin which we believe to be the most likely place on earth to find helium as the primary product.”
The Rukwa basin in Tanzania is also the subject of exploration by Helium One Ltd.
Jennings also exclusively revealed to gasworld the impressive additions that have been made to the Noble Helium senior advisory team, perfectly positioning it for the bold new ventures in exploration ahead.
Its current executive team is comprised of Walter Jennings, Executive Chairman, Justyn Wood as CEO and founder, and Professor Andrew Garnett, Non-Executive Director and a geologist with more than 25 years of worldwide experience in conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon exploration, appraisal and development.
Wood is a petroleum geophysicist and a 25-year veteran of oil and gas exploration who has played major roles in unlocking resources, particularly in the East African Rift Valley and north east South America. Credited with having contributed more than $20bn to the oil and gas exploration and production industry through successful exploration in frontier regions, his areas of activity have included French Guiana, British Guiana, Uganda, Tunisia, Nigeria, Somaliland and Tanzania, where he has explored and managed international frontier projects. He is a veteran of six expeditions into the East African Rift Valley and Tanzania over the past 16 years and is considered to be a global expert on the East African Rift Valley.
But Noble Helium has been busy adding to both its skillsets and its esteem of late, with Wood explaining, “To achieve a more stable international balance of supply and demand, Noble Helium has developed a new global business model and assembled an impressive team of global experts in the field.”
Describing the company as having ‘the right people, in the right place, at the right time’ to deliver the largest deposits of helium in history and provide market security of supply for the rest of this century, Wood noted that Noble Helium’s Senior Advisory Team now also includes Kent Masters, Phil Kornbluth, Albert Stromquist, and Professor Eric Roberts.
Kent Masters (pictured right) is Senior Advisor North America & Europe. An Operating Partner with Advent International and Lead Independent Director of Albemarle Corporation (NYSE), he was the CEO of Foster Wheeler AG until its acquisition by Amec in 2015 and has a long history in the industrial gases business having previously been a member of the executive board of The Linde Group AG. In that position he had direct responsibility for the Linde businesses in the Americas, Africa, the South Pacific, central marketing, research and development and the global business unit Healthcare, prior to which Masters was an executive director of The BOC Group, plc and Chief Executive of BOC’s Industrial and Specialty Products business.
Albert Stromquist is Senior Advisor Asia, Middle East.A geologist with 40 years’ experience in global business development, strategy, design and launch of business start-ups, acquisitions, disposals and investment financing in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.
Phil Kornbluth (pictured right), advisor. A helium focused consultant advising on commercial aspects of the global helium business, employed by leading industrial gas companies over the past 37 years and also Editorial Advisory Board member for gasworld.
Artemis Management Tanzania are African-based representatives and advisors. Providing local representation to the Tanzanian government, corporations and administrators, the company is proven performer with extensive experience in the Tanzanian resources sector.
Professor Eric Roberts is Advisor, East African rift. An associate professor and Head of Earth and Environmental Sciences at James Cook University Townsville Australia, Prof. Roberts has spent the last 18 years investigating portions of the East African Rift system, with a focus on the Rukwa Rift Basin.
Read more about these developments and the Noble Helium journey to date in an exclusive Interview of the Month in the upcoming Issue 07 of gasworld magazine, including Wood’s belief that, “The 100-year-old method of recovering helium as a by-product from natural gas processing and LNG plants has served the world market well in the past, but it will not satisfy growth in demand beyond 2040.”