Chemical giant Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (APD) and Matheson Tri-Gas, Inc. (:MATHESON) announced the commencement of production operations at their jointly-owned liquid helium production plant near Big Piney, WY. Operations began with the filling and shipping of the first two 11,000 gallon helium ISO containers from the plant.
The facility which has been constructed to produce 200 million standard cubic feet of helium per year at the outset is expected to produce up to 400 million standard cubic feet of helium per year in the future. Starting of helium production at this new plant is well timed as the global industrial gas industry continues to face helium supply constraints.
Helium produced at the Big Piney plant will enable Air Products to expand its business and also secure long term supply for MATHESON's existing helium customers. The strategic location of the plant will provide logistics synergies along with a stable, efficient and reliable supply chain to MATHESON's customers in the U.S. and abroad.
The Big Piney helium facility purifies and liquefies a helium feedgas stream that is supplied by Denbury Resources' Riley Ridge gas processing plant. The Denbury plant processes a raw gas stream produced from one of the largest helium-rich gas fields in the U.S.- the LaBarge Field in Wyoming. The LaBarge Field contains sufficient helium reserves to support production for years to come.
MATHESON is a member of the Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation (:TNSC) group, which is the leading helium supplier in Japan, and is one of only five major industrial gas companies in the world with direct access to helium sources. MATHESON operates the global helium business of TNSC under the name MATHESON Global Helium. On the other hand, world's largest helium production and distribution system is maintained by Air Products and the company also operates numerous facilities around the world.
Air Products currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better ranked stocks in the chemical space include Compass Minerals International Inc. (CMP), Eastman Chemical Company (EMN) and Koninklijke DSM N.V. (RDSMY). While Compass Minerals has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Eastman Chemical and Koninklijke DSM sport a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).