Gazprom launches Siberian helium hub
Russian state gas giant Gazprom officially launched September 3 the first phase of its helium hub in eastern Siberia, near the coast. It has now completed the supply chain from upstream production to delivery to customers.
The gas is among the impurities of the Chayandinskoye gas field that feeds the Power of Siberia line to China. Helium is stripped out of the gas stream at the Amur gas processing plant (GPP) for export. Gazprom says demand is strong in high-tech industries and is now on the rise, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.
The hub will provide servicing for containers that are sent to the GPP to be filled, arrange logistics operations and carry out acceptance, weight checks and preparation of thermally-insulated containers arriving from the Amur GPP for their further loading on to ocean-going vessels. The containers are designed to maintain the temperature at -269 °C, the temperature helium condenses at.
Container transportation services are provided by the in-house vehicle fleet of Gazprom Helium Service. The Kamaz trucks run on LNG, which is also produced directly onsite at the hub.
The helium unit has capacity of 20mn m³/yr and two more are planned, bringing the total to 60mn m³/yr, making Gazprom the world's biggest producer. According to Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, the plant will be able to carry out 4,000 operations/yr.
Gazprom is not the sole company in eastern Siberia to have helium aspirations: US Chart Industries is to supply liquefaction equipment to another Russian company which it identified only as a major independent.