Air Products, the global leader in helium production, has announced the signing of a long-term helium supply contract with National Helium LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DCP Midstream.

The feedstock from National Helium provides the base-load helium volume for Air Products’ liquid helium plant located near Liberal, Kansas, one of the largest helium purification and liquefaction plants in the world.

The Liberal facility, which is also connected to the United States Bureau of Land Management pipeline system, is also the home of a major Air Products helium distribution terminal.

“We have had a long and productive relationship with National Helium and are pleased to extend it for another very lengthy period of time,” said John Van Sloun, general manager - Worldwide Helium at Air Products.

“This is a key supply contract for Air Products as we strive to ensure our ability to reliably serve our customer base. At the same time, Air Products continues to look for other helium source opportunities where we can participate both as an investor and an operator.”

said John Van Sloun, general manager - Worldwide Helium at Air Products.

The company is also supplied with helium feedstock from DCP Midstream at its Hansford County, Texas liquid helium plant.

Air Products claims to have pioneered many of the helium extraction, production, distribution and storage technologies used in the industry today.

The company maintains the world’s largest helium production and distribution system and operates numerous facilities around the world.

Van Sloun also indicated that Air Products’ new, jointly-owned with MATHESON, liquid helium production plant near Big Piney, Wyoming is to be onstream later this year.

The Wyoming helium production plant will be the 10th liquid helium plant operating in the United States, and the first new U.S. facility constructed in over a decade.

It is designed to produce 200 million standard cubic feet per year at start-up, with expectations for future expansion to 400 million.

The facility will process natural gas from the Riley Ridge Field in Wyoming, one of the largest helium-rich natural gas fields in the U.S. The Riley Ridge field is believed to contain sufficient reserves to support helium production for decades.

Helium is used in many unique and valued applications including: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); lifting for high altitude scientific research balloons, blimps and party balloons; fiber optics and semi-conductor manufacturing; metallurgy; breathing atmospheres for deep diving or unique blood gas medical mixtures; analytical chemistry; pressurizing and purging pipes, vessels, and other critical equipment; leak detection; and other advanced applications.