Weil Group Resources, LLC, plans to build a new helium (He) processing facility in Saskatchewan, Canada, are on track. The new facility will supply refined, industrial-grade He to markets throughout North America.

The plant, which will cost an estimated $10m, has been designed and supplied by Tier One player the Linde Group, and is set to come on-stream in April this year.

The facility will purify inert gas from existing wells into an extremely clean industrial product with up to 99.999% purity, and will produce around 40 million cubic feet per year of He. The refined gas will then serve Canadian and US consumers.

Bill Boyd, Economy Minister of Saskatchewan, explained, “Weil Group’s helium project will help redevelop an industry that has been inactive in our province for almost 50 years, serving as one of many examples of our province’s diversified economy,” with Jeff Vogt, Weil Group CEO, confirming, “We are excited to play a part in this pioneering industry in Canada.”

Weil Group acquired and reentered the wells in the Canadian province in 2013, and commissioned the new plant after validating its He reserves. The Saskatchewan facility will be one of several other He exploration, development and processing projects that the corporation owns, including those in Alberta and the US.

Market challenges

Interest in small field developments has been driven by high prices for He resulted from the 2011-2013 shortage, and has been a difficult market in recent years. Phil Kornbluth, President of Kornbluth Helium Consulting, LLC, highlights, “Helium concentrations are not as high [in this region], typically +/-1%, and there is no liquefier in the vicinity, so commercialisation may prove more challenging.

Kornbluth continued, “With helium prices now trending downward, the economic viability of operating in this part of the helium business could prove challenging and there is a good chance of a future shakeout or consolidation among the companies operating in this space.”

 

Weil Group Resources is headquartered in Richmond, Virginia and is active in the Northwest US and Canada, with prior projects in South America and the Philippines. Its mission is to discern value in undeveloped or under-developed natural resource assets.