Gas explorer partners with Lockheed on helium airships
Main page News, Aviation, Energy

A company that claims it has one of the largest helium deposits in the world has teamed up with Lockheed Martin to work on using the company's new airships to transport helium from its project in Tanzania to port for shipping.

"We like the thought of shipping our product using our product," Helium One chief executive Tom Abraham-James said.

The company says it has 98.9 billion cubic feet of helium in an untapped deposit and demand could soar if Lockheed's new airships are adopted by resources companies.

The airships can carry a minimum of 21 tonnes and could provide a good way to move large loads in remote areas with little to no road or rail access.

The airships have been slated for commercial release next year and Lockheed says an aviation firm in Alaska has already ordered 12 of the aircraft.

Helium One hopes that its tie-up with Lockheed could eventually lead to the firm supplying helium to the aerospace company's entire fleet of airships.

But first the company will need to start producing helium from its Tanzania deposit, which Mr Abraham-James said could begin by late next year.

He said that using airships instead of trucks to transport the gas would provide a "direct, point-to-point delivery" to port in Dar-es-Salaam in seven hours, avoiding bottlenecks.

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