Global gases company, the Linde Group, its subsidiary African Oxygen (Afrox) and alternative energy firm Renergen signed a deal to commercialise South Africa’s first onshore natural gas field in the Free State, enabling the production of liquid helium.
The 187 000ha gas field in Virginia in the Free State has proven reserves of 25-billion cubic feet, or the equivalent of about one-billion litres of diesel.
The deal requires Linde to build a state-of-the art helium extraction plant at a cost of about R200m, creating numerous indirect and about 30 direct jobs. According to Nick Haines, the New York-based head of Linde’s global helium source development unit, liquid helium output from the gas field would supply all of South Africa’s domestic demand, equivalent to about 81 000 litres of diesel production a day.
“We will transfer helium expertise to local Afrox guys. We will have two streams (of products) — helium and natural gas,” Haines says.
Source: Business Day Live