EPCM to Build Pipelines for South Africa's First Helium Plant

JOHANNESBURG - Energy company Renergen said it has commissioned South Africa’s first commercial LNG and liquid helium plant and appointed EPCM Bonisana to install the pipeline and manage the interface.

(source: Renergen)

Renergen also appointed Chinese equipment company Western Shell Cryogenic Equipment Co. (WSCE) to supply technology and equipment for the plant.

“We look forward to seeing Renergen and WSCE making liquid natural gas and liquid helium in South Africa a reality,” EPCM said in an official statement.

 The Virginia Gas Project will position South Africa as the only African commercial helium producer and one of eight countries in the world exporting the natural resource alongside the United States and Qatar.

EPCM, which earlier placed the project value at $32 million, said engineering design has been completed on the Gas Gathering Section, which includes 31 miles (50 km) of underground HDPE pipeline network, wellhead installations, and compression and dehydration stations, as well as the Mother Station, which includes the main processing facility.

The U.S government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) approved a $40 million loan in February this year to provide capital for the project after the company announced it had discovered reserves of up to 11% helium concentrations in the Free State province.

The project is planned to be operational from 2021, with a planned daily production of 645.3 tonnes of LNG and 350 kg of helium.

Helium is used, among other things, to cool superconducting magnets in medical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, as a lifting gas in balloons and airships, as a gas to breathe in deep-sea diving and to keep satellite instruments cool.

— P&GJ Staff and Wire Report

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