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The champagne corks should have been popping liberally over at Renergen, after the boffins at international reserves and resources accreditation agency Sproule reported back on Renergen’s Virginia Gas Project in the Free State. This is made up of exploration and production rights over 187,000ha around Welkom, Virginia and Theunissen. The verdict can be paraphrased by saying the area has more gas than the aftermath of a baked bean eating contest. Helium reserves up 620% and methane reserves up 427% on previous estimates.

This suggests Virginia has the potential to become a major global player in helium, an element that may be best known for filling up balloons and making your voice go squeaky. It is somewhat more importantly used in cryogenics such as cooling the superconducting magnets in MRI machines, in welding and other industrial applications. The methane reserves will be supplied as liquified natural gas, which is topical in that it significantly reduces carbon emissions ...

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