‘Unity’ Of New Helium Developers Association To Open ‘A Lot Of Doors’

Calgary, October 23, 2023 – Via Daily Oil Bulletin

Balanced tax treatment is one of the areas a new association dedicated to helium developers is pursuing through regulatory advocacy.

The Helium Developers Association of Canada (HeDAC) was established earlier this autumn, with former long-time Encana Corporation executive Richard Dunn tapped as executive director.

Currently with five members, the group represents companies that explore, develop and produce helium in Western Canada.

Government and regulators are “a lot more receptive when it’s an industry group than an individual company coming forward, so there is not an individual company gaining an advantage or anything like that,” Chris Bakker, CEO of Avanti Helium Corp., told the DOB.

Avanti is a member company of HeDAC, and Bakker serves as a HeDAC co-chair. He worked for Encana previously, as well. 

“This is an industry approach,” he said of the new association. “That sort of unity opens a lot of doors and things are well received on the government front.”

Fellow co-chair Ed Bereznicki agreed. He’s president and CEO of First Helium Inc., another member company. His career expertise includes gas pipelines and capital markets.

“It started with realizing we had some common goals as it related both provincially and federally with respect to regulatory and fiscal (matters),” he said. “We have been doing a tremendous amount of work … furthering the group’s causes, if you will, and interests.”

One of those causes relates to taxation.

“Spending on helium exploration and development sourced from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) does not receive equal treatment of tax measures provided other Canadian mineral developers, namely the Canadian Exploration Expense (CEE) or the Canadian Development Expense (CDE),” HeDAC wrote in a submission to the federal government for pre-budget consultations in advance of the 2024 federal budget.

This is related to a clause in the Income Tax Act that the groups says inadvertently precludes minerals sourced from sedimentary deposits in Canada (including the WCSB) from receiving CEE and CDE deduction treatment.

“Of the 31 critical minerals in Canada, only one, helium, doesn’t receive this standard tax treatment,” Dunn told the DOB.

“It is a problem. It affects project economics, it affects the certainty in terms of handling of tax deductions….”

It also restricts the ability for junior explorers to access at-risk financing, he added.

On this, Bakker added: “We are kind of competing for the same dollars for exploration, in some senses … and we don’t feel the playing field is level at this point. We are trying to raise awareness of that at the federal level.”

At the provincial level, Saskatchewan has had a “head start” on helium, noted Bakker. Until recently, it has not received the same sort of focus in Alberta, leading to some things that need to be caught up on.

“We are primarily working in the southern, southeastern part of Alberta,” he added. “There has not been a lot of oil and gas activity and there has been some, I’d say, challenges on surface land access down there that we are working through.

“It is just more reflective of the fact that we are an early-stage deep exploration game, and what typically has happened in southeast Alberta was a shallow gas, fairly rapid cycle history down there. The regulation side in place down there does not necessarily fit our business today.”

With that said, Bakker called the Alberta government receptive and very good to work with. He pointed to positives in the mandate letter to Alberta’s Energy and Minerals Minister Brian Jean.

One of the tasks detailed in the letter was: Developing and improving regulatory regimes to incentivize investment in hydrogen, ammonia, helium, lithium, liquefied natural gas, small modular reactor, geothermal and mineral development in the province.

“We really appreciate the engagement there,” said Bakker.

Canada’s helium resources are estimated to be the fifth largest in the world, according to the Saskatchewan government.

Helium is commonly used in MRIs and electronics.

Bereznicki said helium will potentially play a big role in the energy transition, citing its use as a cooling mechanism for small modular reactors.

“The other avenue being tested is a replacement gas within heat pumps, which are becoming very topical in Canada,” he added. 

Dunn supported this point.

“It fits with government priorities in growing a diversified, green economy,” he said.

“A lot of people think nuclear is going to be one of the key methods of lowering the carbon footprint on the electricity system. The latest generation small modular reactor going in at Chalk River in Ontario is designed around helium cooling. (There’s) a lower carbon opportunity there.”

Other member companies include Global Helium Corp.Royal Helium Ltd. and Thor Helium.

Read the original article here.

Royal Helium starts-up helium purification facility in Alberta‘Unity’ Of New Helium Developers Association To Open ‘A Lot Of Doors’

October 13, 2023 Via Gasworld

Royal Helium has announced the successful start-up of its Steveville helium purification facility in Alberta.

The plant has been engineered to process 15,000 mcf/day of raw gas fed by two of Royal Helium’s helium wells. With this, the plant has an output capacity of around 22,000 mcf of 99.9999% helium per year.

Helium produced by the plant will meet the three-year purchase agreement that Royal Helium has made with two offtake partner agreements in the North American aerospace and space launch industries.

It is believed the the helium supplied under the contacts will have an average price of $538 per mcf. The facility at Steveville is said to have an ultra-low operating cost due to it being self-powered by fuel gas co-produced from the two helium wells.

Andrew Davidson, President and CEO of Royal Helium described the plant start-up as a “pivotal moment”.

He added, “Following a successful start-up, Royal Helium will begin ramping up towards full commercial production, making us the first publicly listed helium producer operating in Canada.”

The Steveville plant will also materially benefit from carbon credits, generated under the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction System in Alberta. As these carbon credits are monetised, it will have the ability to provide Royal shareholders with a material additional cash flow stream.

News of the start-up comes hot on the heels of the Helium Developer Association of Canada being formed, of which Royal Helium is a member. The association hopes to address the growing demand for a long-term, secure helium supply chain.

Other member companies of the Helium Developers Association of Canada include Avanti Helium, First Helium, Global Helium, and Thor Resources.


Canadian helium developers establish national association to address growing demand for critical helium supply

Calgary, October 12, 2023 – Canadian helium companies have announced the establishment of the Helium Developers Association of Canada to address growing demand for a long-term, secure supply of helium critical to Canada’s medical, scientific research, high-tech and industrial sectors.

The Helium Developers Association of Canada (HeDAC) represents companies looking to explore, develop and produce helium in Western Canada. Its mandate is to create public awareness and align industry and governments in advancing much-needed domestic helium supply.

“Global demand for helium is rising rapidly at the same time concerns over uncertain supply and pricing are growing,” says Richard Dunn, Executive Director, Helium Developers Association of Canada. “Helium is critical to essential medical services like MRIs. Concerns are rising over everything from the repatriated North American semiconductor chip manufacturing sector’s ability to support critical defense and electric vehicle production to restrictions on scientific research conducted by Canadian universities. This is a challenge and an opportunity that Canada is well-positioned to address.”

Helium, a non-combustible gas, is one of 31 federally-designated Canadian critical minerals and a critical enabler for development and application of high-tech and clean technologies that will be essential to Canada’s lower carbon future.  It plays a key and irreplaceable role in medical applications such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometers as well as semi-conductor and fibre optic manufacturing, small modular reactors, quantum computing, industrial welding and manufacturing, leak detection (including leak detection of EV batteries), lifting applications and military and space applications, plus new and emerging areas such as heat pumps.

Concerns over uncertain supply have prompted urgent calls from the medical and scientific communities, including the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists (CAMRT), Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) and Canadian Helium Users Group (CHUG) for the establishment of a secure and sustainable national helium supply chain.

“Helium supply issues have been a frequent threat to the medical, research, and industrial fields that depend on a consistent supply. It is imperative for the federal, provincial governments, regulators and industry to work together and prioritize establishing a sustainable and secure Canadian helium supply,” says Megan Brydon, President, CAMRT.

Canada’s helium resources are estimated to be the fifth largest in the world but account for less than 2% of global helium production. The majority of the world’s helium is produced in the U.S. and unstable political environments such as Russia, Qatar and Algeria. In the U.S. demand is rapidly growing and supply is declining. Much of the world’s increased supply of helium was forecast to come from Russia, however, Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine exposed the fragility of the supply chain and forced supply rationing.

Much of Canada’s helium resources are located in southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan. Using well-established responsible development practices, helium is co-produced with nitrogen, unlike alongside the production of natural gas or liquefied natural gas (LNG) elsewhere in the world. 

 “Because our helium is co-produced with nitrogen it is recognized for being the most sustainably produced in the world and that puts Canada in a unique position to provide a long-term helium supply as the world transitions away from hydrocarbons,” says Chris Bakker, co-chair, Helium Developers Association of Canada. “Developing a helium industry represents a new, important and essential growth opportunity for Canada.”

The development of a helium industry in Canada aligns with the federal government and the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments’ strategic priorities, adds Ed Bereznicki, also co-chair of the association.

“We are engaging with the federal and provincial governments to get the right policies and programs in place. With those, Canada can become self-sufficient in the foreseeable future and a trusted supplier to other countries, including the U.S. Saskatchewan alone estimates its helium growth plan, which targets producing 10% of the world’s helium by 2030, will support thousands of jobs and generate annual exports worth as much as $500-million. The opportunity for Alberta was featured prominently in recent ministerial mandate letters and is equally significant,” says Bereznicki. “The increased activity from establishing this industry will provide short and long-term economic benefits to rural and Indigenous communities and can leverage the skills of oil and gas workers developed over a century.”

“The Helium Developers Association of Canada will provide a foundation for the expansion of helium development in our province. We are excited to see ongoing diversification of our economy, particularly in such an important sector for Canada’s future,” says Brian Jean, Minister of Energy and Minerals of Alberta.

Founding member companies of the Helium Developers Association of Canada include: Avanti Helium Corp., First Helium Inc., Global Helium Corp., Royal Helium Ltd. and Thor Resources Inc.

Visit HeDAC at www.hedac.ca and follow us on LinkedIn, X and Facebook.

For more information contact:

Richard Dunn, Executive Director, Helium Developers Association of Canada