Targeting low carbon helium sources
We are leveraging our technical, industrial and corporate experience to develop new sources of helium to satisfy rising global demand.
Our strategy is to target non-hydrocarbon helium exploration and development projects.
Existing sources are depleting, and the world is transitioning away from natural gas. We believe there is now a significant opportunity for low carbon helium producers.
Helium Ventures has access to global leaders in the identification of high concentration helium projects, geological modelling, and helium exploration methodologies. We plan to invest with partners who have access to relevant, pre-existing technical data, which allow projects to be proven up and fast-tracked to commercialisation. Helium Ventures will deploy its sector specific knowledge to assist its partners in streamlining and accelerating their extraction programmes.
Through investing across a range of geographical and geological play types, Helium Ventures plans to build a low-risk portfolio.
Humanity must de-carbonise its energy source to preserve the planet.
Non-hydrocarbon helium projects will be the future of supply.
Helium Ventures is focused on projects that are:
Helium is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas which is at the heart of some of the world’s critical high-tech applications. It is very hard to replace.
When pressurised sufficiently it becomes a liquid. It has the lowest boiling point temperature of any element, at just 4.2 Kelvin (−268.9 °C) and is the only substance that remains as gas until virtually absolute zero.
When helium approaches absolute zero it condenses to a liquid (a super fluid) with remarkable properties – it flows with no friction and can climb up out of the walls of containers and pass through what are normally impermeable barriers.
Unless subjected to extremely high pressure and low temperatures, helium does not solidify. At just below 1K, it takes 25 atmospheres of pressure to reach a solid state. At room temperature it would require over 100,000 atmospheres of pressure to solidify helium.
Despite being the second most common element in the solar system it is extremely rare on Earth and only in exceptional circumstances does it occur in sufficient abundance to be commercially exploited. It only became available for purchase on the market in 1928.
Due to its unique properties, helium is a vital resource. It plays a critical role in high-tech applications in medicine, technology and aerospace.
There is growing demand for helium in various high-tech applications such as cryogenics, fibre optics, welding and pressure and purging, in addition to more recent developments which include hybrid air vehicles, helium-filled hard drives and space exploration.
Following the wind down of the US strategic reserve and increased demand due to developments in manufacturing, medical imaging and scientific research, the price for helium has surged by approximately 500 percent in the past 15 years. As new reserves are found and brought into production around the world, the current tightness of the market may ease, but with demand continuing to grow, helium supply is likely to remain critical.
Just two countries produce around 85% of the world’s helium — the USA and Qatar. Such limited supply can seriously destabilise markets (especially in volatile regions) and badly affect customers.
For most of its supply history, the US government has smoothed the market within its strategic reserve facility which, at its peak, held 30 billion cubic feet of helium – enough to meet about 15 years of global demand at that time. However, the US strategic reserve managed by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is winding down and, by law, it will completely close to international sales by October 2021, further underpinning the opportunity for low carbon sources of helium production.
Potential global resources of helium were estimated in 2011 to be approximately 1,480 billion cubic feet (bcf). Current annual global use is estimated at 6.2 bcf. So on the face of it, there should not be a shortage. However, very little of the estimated resource can be extracted annually as it is contained as a by-product in giant methane gas fields. Production is therefore constrained by methane production and liquefaction rates. As the energy transition accelerates, the future extraction of natural gas will inevitably diminish and may put some of these helium reserves associated with hydrocarbon sources beyond reach.
Neil Ritson is a geoscientist with a career spanning over 40 years in the energy and resource sectors. After a 20 year career with BP working in technical and managerial positions around the globe, Neil become Senior Vice President, International for Burlington Resources before joining AIM listed Regal Petroleum plc as its CEO. Between 2010 and 2017, he was the CEO of LGO Energy plc and until 2018 the CEO, and later Executive Chairman, of Solo Oil plc. At Solo, Neil recognised the potential for helium exploration using the latest play concepts and was instrumental in Solo making a substantial early investment in Helium One Limited in 2017. As part of its investment in Helium One, Neil facilitated access to legacy seismic data and personally supervised its reprocessing and reinterpretation.
In partnership with two of the UK’s principal helium research teams at Oxford and Durham Universities, Neil has developed a private company, Helium Resources Limited, which has successfully completed helium surveys in the UK and is seeking to license these for production. Neil is a recognised expert on the identification of helium plays and their commercialisation.
Jonathan Owen is a mining engineer, an Associate of the Camborne School of Mines, with over 10 years’ experience in developing and managing exploration and mining operations in Africa and internationally. He brings senior operational leadership experience from across several high-value commodities, including gold, diamonds, industrial minerals, and gases. Notably, Jonathan was Chief Operating Officer of Helium One, responsible for establishing its corporate, government and social licences to operate in Tanzania, and for executing the highly successful phase-1 exploration programme.
Jonathan is Vice President, Natural Resources of Proudfoot, an internationally renowned operational improvement consultancy, working closely with future-focused mining companies to effect continuous improvement across their operations, and to develop major transformation programmes.
Fungai Ndoro is an experienced small cap corporate financier who specialises in working with growth companies. She has worked in the City for over a decade and has spent most of her career as a corporate financier at Peterhouse Capital, advising public companies and executing a broad spectrum of corporate transactions, including IPOs, acquisitions and disposals, CVAs, open offers, and structural reorganisations for corporate clients on the London Stock Exchange, AIM and AQSE. Over her career, Fungai has executed the structuring and launch of several companies.
Fungai is currently an Executive Director of AQSE listed Quetzal Capital Limited and is an independent consultant providing strategic guidance and advice to start-ups and growth companies in various sectors on corporate governance frameworks and capital market transactions.