THE NEW FRONTIER OF HELIUM EXPLORATION W. CHRIS BAKKER – EP. 87
Updated: Jun 1
When most of us think of the helium industry, we generally go straight to balloons and funny voices.
In today’s episode, we get together with Chris Bakker to discuss helium’s many uses in a variety of fields, from healthcare to high tech, and why there’s no real substitute for it. Chris is the CEO of Avanti Energy Inc., has had a long career in oil and gas, and is also an economist, placing him in a unique position to capitalize on helium discovery and exploration.
We discuss helium’s unique attributes, like the fact that it only enters the liquid phase at the incredibly low temperature of −269 °C, and unlike hydrogen, is non-combustible. Chris expands on helium’s place in the market and explains why the price of helium is likely to be more volatile in future due to the American government foregoing their helium reserves in 2021, allowing the free market to effectively take over. Chris is working at the frontier of a new field of exploration and is excited about the future.
We hope you find this conversation as fascinating as we did!
KEY POINTS FROM THIS EPISODE:
Meet today’s guest Chris Bakker.
Helium has multiple uses and is a non-renewable, finite resource.
MRIs are the biggest consumers of helium.
The key aspects of helium and how they allow for its myriad industrial uses.
Examples of helium’s ability to check for leaks and other applications in healthcare and high tech.
Learn about the key qualities of helium and how it impacts magnets.
Helium is priced in cubic feet.
How, until 2015, the cost of helium hadn’t fluctuated much.
Why the price of Helium is likely to be more volatile in future.
The conditions for an economically viable helium reservoir.
Helium is the product of decaying uranium and thorium from deep within the earth.
Why extracting helium has more in common with extracting natural gas than mining.
The size of the global helium market.
Chris explains the helium exploration model.
The risk profile of exploring for helium and how modern technology can assist.
Why helium exploration is fairly new and why that’s exciting.
A breakdown of global helium reserves and its geopolitical impact.
The infrastructure that is necessary for helium exploration, extraction and transport.
The profit margins of the helium industry compared to natural gas.