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Environment Environment
August 07, 2013

Commencement of Supply from Qatar Helium-2 and
Launching Helium Joint Venture in Qatar
Incorporating Helium Transfilling, Container Logistics and Container Maintenance to Expand the Helium Business Effectively in the MENA


Iwatani Corporation commenced shipments of liquefied helium from Qatar. To facilitate the shipments, Iwatani will incorporate a joint venture company in Qatar with LNG Japan and Buzwair.


Iwatani Corporation (Iwatani, Head Office: Tokyo and Osaka, President: Masao Nomura, Capital: JPY 20 billion) has shipped the first container to Japan from the Helium 2 project run by Qatari company Ras Gas. The project aims to produce liquefied helium from gases associated with the LNG production process in a country that has the world’s largest capacity in this industry. Iwatani is the first Asian company to acquire rights and interests to import helium gases directly from Qatar. The plant is expected to produce approximately 1.3 billion cubic feet per year. Iwatani will import nearly eight million cubic meters annually, 20% of the total volume of helium produced. The commencement of operation of Helium-2, combined with the existing Helium-1 plant, means that Qatar will meet around 25 percent of current total helium global demand.


Importing this helium requires maintenance services for the helium container. Iwatani has decided to establish a joint venture company to handle helium transfilling, container logistics and container maintenance, with Buzwair Industrial Gases Factories (Buzwair, Head Office: Doha, Qatar, Chairman: Mr. Fahad Buzwair)*1, one of Qatar's largest Industrial & Specialty Gases Manufacturers, and LNG Japan Corporation (LNG Japan, Head Office: Tokyo, President & CEO: Yasunori Takagi, Capital: JPY 8 billion)*2. The companies signed a joint venture agreement in Tokyo on June 7, 2013. 


The import requires container logistics*3 and maintenance and recovery of the residual gas. The new joint venture will assume these roles. At the same time, Iwatani aims to (1) effectively and competitively develop the business in cooperation with Buzwair, Qatar’s largest industrial gas manufacturer, and LNG Japan, a company with extensive business experience in Qatar; (2) facilitate community-based business with the use of the first helium transfilling plant in Qatar; and (3) strengthen relationships with the State of Qatar in the helium business. The new company will be equipped with a facility capable of efficiently transfilling helium with ultra-high purity of 99.9999% or greater and with a high pressure of 30 MPa(300bar).
Helium gases are widely used in medical devices, laboratory analytical instruments, specialized welding, deep sea diving, industrial coolants, entertainment and many other applications. At present, there is a severe global shortage of helium, a very rare strategic commodity, and the new source in Qatar will help ensure a stable supply. Iwatani will continue to play its role in ensuring a stable and customer-oriented supply of helium gases.



※1: Buzwair is part of a conglomerate, the parent company of which is Buzwair Holding Group W.L.L. Besides industrial gases, the company is also expanding its business to industries such as construction and the distribution of construction-related materials. 

LNG Japan, a shareholder of Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company Limited, is an energy trading house with extensive experience operating in Qatar.



“Container logistics” means the logistic, import and export operations for the land transportation between Jebel Ali Port, which is located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and is the hub port of the Middle East in logistics, and the industrial complex in Ras Laffan where the helium production base is located. Transportation takes nearly three days one way.



【Overview of the joint venture】

(1) Business : Container maintenance, container logistics and helium transfilling
(2) Capital : 1,250,000 US dollars
(3) Shareholding : Buzwair 51%, Iwatani 25%, LNG Japan 24%
(4) Estimated number of employees : Approx. 35
(5) Location : Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar

         (approx. 15 km from the Qatar Helium-2 Plant)




【Photo to commemorate the first transfilling of the container

 at the helium production plant of Ras Gas】




【The ceremony for the signing of the contract for the establishment

 of a helium joint venture

From right: Mr. Yasunori Takagi, President & CEO of LNG Japan Corporation;

Mr. Fahad Buzwair, Chairman of Buzwair Holding;

and Akiji Makino, Chairman & CEO of Iwatani Corporation