There is a large helium gas field that has just been recently discovered in Tanzania in which researchers deem it to be a “life-saving find.” This is primarily due to the fact that they rarely find gas to be in huge demand for a wide variety of purposes. For instance, the gas can be used for MRI scanners in medicine. In the welding sector, it can be used in industrial leak detection. The known reserves for the precious gas are now approaching exhaustion. As such, it spawned fears due to the increasing shortage.
Helium Gas Field in Tanzania Found, But Gives Fear Due to Shortage
The excitement for the discovery of the helium gas field in Tanzania was short-lived due to the increasing fears of shortage. The unearthing was made by a research group from Oxford and Durham universities which are working with Helium One, a Norway-based helium exploration firm. The group then developed a brand new gas exploration approach. This then resulted in the discovery of the field located in the east African locale.
Professor Chris Ballentine from the department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford explained that calculations coming from independent experts have told that the Tanzania gas field could have a probably resource of approximately 54-billion cubic feet “in just one part of the rift valley.” He also added that the amount of helium gas that was discovered is enough to fill over 1.2-million medical MRI scanners.
At the time of writing, the amount of helium gas found in the field was in small quantities. The discovery was made accidentally as the initial purpose of the exploration was for oil and gas. However, and according to researchers, the exploration for helium was never been an “intentional” search. Studies pertaining to the new gas exploration approach did show that volcanic activities in the Tanzanian East African Rift Valley have released helium gas located from ancient deep helium-bearing rocks which were trapped in shallower gas fields.
Ballentine said the following with regards to the discovery of the helium gas field in Tanzania: “To put this discovery into perspective, global consumption of helium is about 8 BCf per year and the United States Federal Helium Reserve, which is the world’s largest supplier, has a current reserve of just 24.2 BCf. Total known reserves in the USA are around 153 BCf. This is a game changer for the future security of society’s helium needs and similar finds in the future may not be far away.”
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