Air Liquide signs contract with RasGas Company Limited for a large turn-key helium extraction, purification and liquefaction unit in Qatar.

The contract has been awarded on behalf of Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited and Qatargas Liquefied Gas Company. The plant will be located in Ras Laffan, Qatar.

François Darchis, Senior Vice-President of Air Liquide Group and a member of the Executive Committee, commented, “Air Liquide is particularly proud of this worldwide first, which demonstrates our capacity to meet major complex needs thanks to our industrial and technical expertise.”

He continued, “Qatar is a strategic supply source of helium for the years to come and Air Liquide will significantly strengthen its worldwide helium supply position as well as its leadership in the Middle East.

Anticipated annual capacity is 38 million m³ of helium, making it the largest unit worldwide. The technology used throughout the process is a proprietary Air Liquide technology.

The project arised from an existing partnership between Air Liquide, RasGas and Qatargas. In 2003 the trio joined forces to develop a helium unit on the same site. Combined production of these two units will reach 58 million m³ per year; consequently Qatar will be responsible for 25% of worldwide production.

Following a long-term agreement with RasGas and Qatargas, Air Liquide will be entitled to purchase 50% of the helium volumes produced by the new unit.