Determining the feasibility of extracting helium from a particular source of natural gas is a complicated study influenced by a combination of technological, logistical, and economic factors. For example, too small a reserve base may disfavor the installation of expensive helium extraction and/or purification facilities. Economic and technical considerations surrounding other products in the natural gas stream and contractual obligations can also affect the economics of helium extraction. All of these factors must be taken into account before a helium extraction site can be planned and established.
On the Earth, most helium is a radioactive decay product of uranium and thorium. It is found under the Earth’s crust with other natural gases. Our team's advanced knowledge of Geology & Geospatial Information Science and field experience discovering and localizing geothermal zones, makes for easy identification and assessment where these helium deposits are present.
The process of drilling for helium is identical to drilling for natural gas, allowing for the use of the same rigs, tools and personnel in these operations. Starfox Helium partners with Running Foxes Petroleum, a Colorado based company, established in 1998, to perform the drilling and production operations. An experienced operator with over 3,000 wells across the midwest & Texas, RFP has extensive knowledge of helium-rich reservoirs and can produce Owning their own equipment results in a 30% cost savings over other upstream companies that use rentals.
Extraction of Helium from Natural Gas comes in two parts: Isolation and Purification. he cryogenic. Purification cleans the concentrate from impurities – methane, nitrogen, hydrogen, neon and argon. Isolation of Helium from bulk gases from the stream can involve any one of three techniques: Membrance Separation, Pressure-Swing Adsorption (PSA) or Temperature-Swing Adsorption (TSA). or Cryogenic Separation :
In Membrane Separation, the helium content of a gas can be upgraded or purified by using high-pressure membranes which either concentrate or purify helium through selective diffusion of relatively smaller gas molecules through microscopic pores in the medium. This technology is relatively new for helium separation applications and may not be suitable for longer-lifetime projects.
In PSA or TSA , temperature or pressure is used to cause selective adsorption of different sized gas molecules into a medium with a large surface area consisting of uniformly sized pore spaces. These technologies are time-tested, reliable, and can be deployed at small scale. The downside is that this process is less efficient than cryogenic separation, in terms of both energy use and product losses during the process.
Starfox Helium's prefers Cryogenic Separation methods to isolate Helium. Similar to the air separation units (ASUs) that are deployed worldwide in the industrial gas business, this technology uses low temperatures to cause different gases to condense off as a liquid in a fractionation tower. This process is ideally suited to helium, which has the lowest condensation point of any gas, but requires large scale for efficiency and has a higher initial capital cost.
In order to economically ship helium around the globe, like LNG, purified helium gas must be liquefied prior to shipping so that it will fill a smaller volume. Liquid helium product also addresses a wider market, including those end-users who require the low temperatures of liquid helium. In the larger global helium plants, the gas is liquefied and stored into specialized 40-foot long ISO intermodal shipping containers. Due to the high-value of helium, it can also be economically shipped regionally as a gas in high-pressure tube trailers, although shipping costs for helium gas are higher than for liquid helium. Starfox Helium can liquify and mobilize your Helium for delivery to any destination or market.
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