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Renergen’s helium plant integration nearly complete

Renergen's Virgina plant

Renergen's Virgina plant

28th March 2024

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online

     

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Gas producer Renergen is approaching the final stages of its helium system integration, which will mark a significant step forward in its operations, making South Africa one of only eight countries to produce liquid helium.

In a quarterly update issued on March 28, the company said the original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) supplier arrived on site in late February to complete the last phase of commissioning for the plant. Renergen said progress was satisfactory, with no significant issues detected.

Both the nitrogen cold box and helium cold box have been fully integrated into the system, and the helium storage tank has been cooled to 20 °K.

The company says it has successfully processed its tail gas stream, which is the gas extracted directly from its wells, through the necessary modules. This process separates methane from the gas, resulting in concentrated helium of 99.95% purity.

These milestones align with the design specifications prior to the liquefaction stage.

Following this, the helium undergoes a final filtration process to achieve a purity level of 99.999%. Independent verification of these results has been conducted by a laboratory approved by the South African National Accreditation System, Renergen says.

Prechecks and assessments are being finalised by the OEM and oil and gas subsdiary Tetra4 before proceeding to the next phase of commercial liquefaction for customers.

The liquification process has also undergone full testing, and the company says that it therefore foresees no challenges in meeting the upcoming milestones.

Upon starting the liquefaction process, the liquid helium will further cool the storage tank to 4 °K, signalling the start of the final performance test to be conducted by the OEM supplier.

Renergen also provided an update on the Mahlako Gas Energy investment into the company’s Virginia gas project, noting that Mahlako had fulfilled all the conditions precedent.

The transaction involved the sale of a 5.5% stake in Tetra4 for a total value of R550-million.

Renergen reports that all scheduled and unscheduled maintenance of the plant was successfully carried out in February, and that it is actively exploring both contractual and insurance-related claims stemming from the root cause determination of the plant failure.

During February, a total of 154 t of liquefied natural gas (LNG) was produced as the plant transitioned from a complete outage to operational status. Renergen says its focus moving forward will be on ramping up production, increasing efficiency, and enhancing reliability in the coming months.

Renergen also reports that Italian company Airsol, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of gas producer SOL, finalised its investment of $7-million into unsecured convertible debentures in Renergen. The debentures are set to convert into securities upon the completion of Renergen's initial public offering on the Nasdaq, which is slated for later this year.

SOL’s experience in LNG is expected to complement Renergen's overall capabilities.

In terms of exploration, Renergen has re-evaluated legacy seismic data covering about 100 ha, using advanced seismic attributes such as edge detection and ant-tracking.

The company said this analysis yielded valuable structural insights into gas migration at depth, as well as clear indications of significant gas accumulations across various time and depth slices. The updated geological model incorporates this information for future exploration targeting.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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