MOSCOW, July 31. /TASS/. Russia has a chance to become one of the world’s top three helium producers as early as in 2024 but domestic consumption will lag behind other countries, project director of fuel and energy sector analytical center Lola Ogrel said.
"Russia could join ranks of the top three helium producers as early as next year and Russia will become the largest product supplier to global markets in years to come. At the same time, having become a full-fledged player in the global helium market in terms of production and exports, Russia will lag behind leading countries in terms of its consumption level," Ogrel said, cited by the InfoTEK company.
The current geopolitical situation and sanctions against Russia have meant a drop in production output overall and a decline in helium consumption by 22% year on year to 3.58 mln cubic meters in 2022, including a 24% decline in scientific research and a 48% fall in advertising. Russia produced a total of about 2.3 mln cubic meters of helium in the first half of 2023, up 16.8% against the like period from last year. Meanwhile, helium consumption in Russia plunged by 18% during the first six months of this year.
The Orenburg helium plant is the principal helium supplier to the domestic market as of early July. May 2023 saw trial starts of a liquid helium unit at the Yaraktinskoe oil and gas field of the Irkutsk Oil Company. The output capacity is 10 mln liters of liquid helium per year or 7.5 mln cubic meters. "The launch of the unit at this facility was tied to domestic demand for Russian helium. However, the entire yielded product is now exported," the expert said.
The Amur gas processing plant, which makes 60 mln cubic meters per year, will be the key Russian helium producer. The helium produced by the plant will largely be exported, Gazprom said earlier.