Industrial gas giant Linde said it has signed a long-term offtake agreement with Freeport LNG to recover the helium contained in the latter’s liquefaction and export facility in Texas.
Besides the supply deal, Linde said in a statement it would also construct a new helium processing plant in Freeport to purify and liquify the recovered helium, securing an additional source of liquid helium in the US.
Linde will supply helium to its customers across various end markets including aerospace, electronics, healthcare and manufacturing.
According to the firm, it plans to launch the project in 2024 and provide nearly 200 million cubic feet of helium into the company’s supply portfolio.
“Through a unique application of Linde’s proven technology, we are able to efficiently capture helium from Freeport’s LNG plant,” Odessa Mann, Linde’s general manager helium and rare gas, said.
Working with Freeport LNG, Linde would secure a new helium source in the US to help meet growing demand, Mann said.
“By working with Linde, we have the opportunity to complement our LNG operations and strengthen the domestic supply of helium,” Aaron Neus, Freeport LNG’s senior VP, chief marketing and strategy officer, said.
Freeport LNG, led by billionaire Michael Smith, launched commercial operations in May 2020 for the third liquefaction train at its facility in Texas.
The start of third train operations also marked the full commercial operation of Freeport LNG’s $13.5 billion, three-train facility. It has a capacity of more than 15 mtpa.
Freeport LNG is also planning to add another production unit with a capacity of five mtpa but it has not yet taken a final investment decision.