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SA will become one of just eight helium producing nations in the world now that R560m in funding from a US government agency has been secured to develop a gas field in the Free State. Having recognised helium as a strategic commodity, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a US government development financier, has approved a $40m loan facility to develop Renergen’s Tetra4 natural gas and helium field. Renergen is a JSE-listed alternative energy company and, through Tetra4, holds the first and only onshore petroleum production license issued in SA. The project, located in the gold mining town of Virginia, also includes a 52km gas gathering pipeline system and a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) and helium liquefaction plant — one of fewer than 20 in the world. Renergen CEO Stefano Marani said the US financier had recognised the strategic importance of helium and approached Renergen about project funding as a result. The corporation is mandated to invest in solving critical devel...

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