From Big Tech to the space race, the future as we know it is depending on one noble gas…
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You thought it was about balloons. Instead, it’s one of the most strategic gases in the world …
And we’re running out of it.
Helium was discovered at the beginning of the last century, and the US government immediately placed production and supply under strict control.
Then, in the 1960s, the Cold War rendered helium even more valuable. It was collected and stored in the US federal helium reserve in Amarillo, Texas.
It was only in the late 1990s that the government allowed helium from the reserve to be sold to private entities. Now, the reserve is nearly depleted and will shut down entirely in September.
Why all the fuss about a gas the general public largely associates with party balloons?
Because it’s a critical gas from a technical, biomedical, and national security standpoint.
“By adding it to the list of strategic minerals, the US government is recognizing that our healthcare and high tech future is intricately tied to helium,” says Chris Bakker, CEO of Avanti Energy Inc. (TSX:AVN.V; US OTC:ARGYF), a junior Canadian explorer that is getting ready for its maiden drill on a prime helium prospect in Alberta.
With so much at stake, and the US taking over 2 billion cubic feet off the market, the next explorer to hit a new helium discovery of commercial viability will reward early-in investors …
Even better if it’s a small-cap whose stock would jump by multiples at every positive announcement in the exploration phase.
Right now, Avanti looks best positioned as our next North American helium play at a time when supply is absolutely critical.
And it’s just made its biggest acquisition move, yet …
#1 Avanti Is exploring for a gas that isn’t just strategic, it’s make-or-break for trillion-dollar industries
The 21st-Century economy is nothing without helium.
Nothing is possible without it. Not astrophysics. Not space travel. Not big data. Not fiber optics, or even an MRI.
There would be no video streaming …
No cell phones.
Running out of helium would be like going back in time. In the case of cryogenics … quite literally.
Helium is formed when radioactive elements (uranium and thorium) decay through fission into smaller particles that are helium atoms stripped of their electrons. That fission replenishes helium that is then dispersed in the atmosphere or trapped in minerals typically found in natural gas reservoirs, where helium is usually “mined” as a by-product.
Helium is a noble gas. It’s non-combustible, very unreactive, highly stable and so light that Earth’s gravity cannot hold it. Once it escapes into the atmosphere, it’s gone forever in the vacuum of space.
Its properties are vital to virtually everything that is the backbone of our modern-day economy. In addition to the fact that it is inert and nonreactive, helium is also non-toxic and boils at -268 degrees Celsius–near absolute zero, which is the lowest temperature in the universe. No other element comes close to this magic of being able to remain a liquid at such temperatures.
In other words, helium is irreplaceable.
And it’s 100x more valuable than natural gas.
Natural gas goes for around $3 per Mcf. Helium can go for as high as $400 per Mcf. It’s not traded like a commodity, though, so prices are harder to track.
And for the next 20 years, we are facing a situation in which helium supply will not be able to keep up with demand.
That makes Avanti’s prospective helium acreage in Alberta and Montana prime-time territory.
Canada has some of the largest helium reserves in the world, and several explorers are hovering around some of the best territories in Saskatchewan.
With helium prices hitting what the Calgary Herald calls “stratospheric levels”, and supply rapidly diminishing, Alberta is witnessing a land rush that hopes to turn the province into a major supplier of the critical gas.
That makes Avanti’s two newest moves in Montana even more important. They’ve moved on over 60,000 acres in northern Montana, one on territory that is nearby and on-trend with helium prospects in Saskatchewan and the other on-trend with drilled wells in Alberta that have shown helium concentrations over 2%.
#2 4 Prospective Helium License Acquisitions, and Avanti’s Biggest Yet
The beginning of Q2 saw Avanti acquire the license for over 6,000 acres from the Government of Alberta in highly prospective helium territory, and then another ~2,500 acres in Alberta. Those projects–Knappen and Aden–show helium up to 2% and helium-trapping structures.
Gas analysis at Knappen shows helium concentrations up to 2.18% and nitrogen up to ~98%, as well as several deep structural features that are ideal for trapping helium.
Aden has an even more promising structural trap and similar high helium concentrations in multiple zones
Avanti’s Alberta acquisitions garnered some attention due to the fact that this province is prime-time for helium … but it was what happened next that set the radar pinging.
In mid-April, Avanti moved to acquire the helium license rights to a 12,000-acre land package in Montana that is on-trend with an active helium drilling area in Saskatchewan, and anticipated to close in the coming weeks..
Two months later, Avanti made its biggest move yet announcing its intention to purchase the helium license rights a huge land package of ~50,000 more acres in Montana. Although the transaction is not finalized just yet, the highlights look great, and appears to contain multiple formations like Aden where surrounding wells showed helium in multiple Devonian and Cambrian targets. More specifically, they show helium of 1.5% to 2.2% in the Cambrian and 0.7% to 1.7% in the Devonian, along with nitrogen up to 96%.
Those are some impressive numbers to start with considering that in Alberta, 1% helium is considered a very good concentration.
But the biggest news is this fourth acquisition of license rights to the 50,000 acres in Montana that Avanti expects to be finalized by the end of this month, giving Avanti rights to 60,000 acres (75,000 total acres when you include Alberta) of prospective helium land against the backdrop of a critically looming supply squeeze.
It’s got a track record that makes this look perfectly feasible …
#3 The Avanti team has done this before … with giant Encana
Helium is found by drilling wells, similar to natural gas.
The team at Avanti Energy Inc. (TSX: AVN.V; US OTC: ARGYF) has already made one discovery in Canada’s prized Montney, for Encana. That’s one of the richest natural gas deposits in the world, and it’s also where you find helium. That Montney discovery ended up producing 300,000 boe/d over 15 years.
Avanti CEO Chris Bakker has over two decades of experience in oil and gas and served as a commercial negotiator with Encana/Ovintiv for major facilities and pipelines in the Montney gas play.
He’s an expert in natural gas exploration, from acquisitions and exploration to drilling and production.
#4 Analysts have initiated coverage and insiders are buying it up…
Insiders have been buying up this stock, and that’s always a good sign …
Beacon Securities Limited, which initiated coverage recently, is maintaining its 12-month $3.80 price target, noting that with its big move on another 50,000 acres in Montana, Avanti “now has a contiguous land block that may support several years of drilling”.
“If successful, numerous development wells would follow with production in H2/22 once facilities are configured and installed,” Beacon notes, adding that “critical mass” has been achieved with Avanti, which now has a “key asset on which its world-class technical team can explore.”
The helium rush is on and demand is set to be as staggering as this gas is critical, while Avanti looks to be positioned to catapult Alberta into a major global helium hub. This is early days speculative exploration play, but if it pays off, it will pay off big–all the better before it starts pinging Wall Street radar.
By: Lucas Friedman
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