The Saskatchewan government hopes to raise the province’s helium industry to significant levels by the start of the new decade.
Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre announced the “Helium Action Plan,” which aims for Saskatchewan to supply 10 percent of the world’s usable helium by 2030. Currently, the government says, the province supplies about one percent. hundred.
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Eyre said achieving that goal would create more than 500 permanent jobs and generate annual helium exports valued at more than $ 500 million.
And it touted what it says will be a “low-emission” industry compared to other exporters.
“We have high concentrations of helium in the province and some of the most attractive geologies in the world for low-emission helium production,” Eyre said Monday.
“Our helium deposits mix with nitrogen, which makes up 70 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere, so it can be released without emissions.”
According to the province, Saskatchewan is home to deposits of up to two percent in helium concentrations and “promising shows” of up to seven percent concentrations. This makes dedicated helium mining more viable than in other jurisdictions where lower concentrations mean that extraction is largely related to natural gas production.
Overall, the province says, concentrations of 0.5 percent are the global benchmark for economic recovery from independent wells.
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To help encourage investment in exploration, the Saskatchewan Oil Innovation Incentive (SPII) is being expanded to include helium projects.
The SPII offers transferable tax credits for qualifying oil and gas projects, and now helium, at a rate of 25 percent of eligible project costs, up to a maximum of $ 5 million in credits.
The Oil and Gas Production Investment Incentive (OGPII), which already includes helium processing projects, provides qualified Saskatchewan infrastructure projects with a 15% transferable royalty credit, based on capital expenditures, up to maximum of $ 75 million in credits.
“I think OGPII and SPII are very prudent in helping to attract and increase investment,” Eyre said.
“It pays for itself. Absolutely, it pays for itself. “
The action plan also promises to help expand geological research, modernize well analysis reports, automate administrative tasks and assist export by helping to develop liquefaction capacity locally.
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Other goals of the plan include growing the industry to 150 dedicated helium wells and building up to 15 purification and liquefaction facilities. Eyre said there are currently nine active dedicated wells.
“MRIs are the primary use of helium in North America, accounting for 20 to 30 percent of helium use,” said Royal Helium CEO Andrew Davidson, one of several industry executives. present at the press conference on Monday morning.
“Globally, there is a big shift towards use in high-tech manufacturing. Microchips, semiconductors, fiber optics – all of these things use helium in the manufacturing process. These are the great growth engines that we are seeing worldwide. “
Patty Thomas, vice president of geosciences for North American Helium, called the incentives offered by the government a “big deal” and said drilling an exploration well can cost up to a million dollars.
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