Opinion Pieces and Conference Presentations
M.E.T.T.S. has produced a selection of opinion pieces and conference presentations. These can be viewed at this site, and quoted and used for academic and other research purposes, providing that attribution is clearly given to the author(s).
Nitrogen, a Useful Gas By-product of Helium Production?
Nitrogen is a useful gas around developing and developed oil and gas fields. Its use provides another positive step in safety management during drilling, an increase in drilling efficiency from having lighter drilling muds, and as a driving gas during Enhanced Oil Recovery. Helium is an industrial gas most often produced during air separation where it is a valuable by-product.
Nitrogen can be a by-product of extracting Helium from natural gas and indeed can be produced and marketed in high quality gaseous and liquid forms for a very small additional cost over that incurred during Helium extraction. If there are opportunities to utilise locally produced nitrogen in petroleum production, having locally recovered nitrogen on-hand is a win-win situation. Liquid nitrogen, used as a thermal buffer, facilitates the transport of bulk liquid Helium (LHe) from production site to customer.
There are good synergies in the co-production of Helium and Nitrogen.
The Survival of the Extractive Industries (EIs) Through and Beyond the COVID Crisis
The education and training of professionals, lower management and technicians and thence the retention of those people by the EIs through their productive lives is a necessary goal for the EIs. Likewise the training and retention of unskilled personnel who through the workplace (and skills training institutions) have become semi-skilled, is also very important. The AusIMM has a specific charter to guide, support and assist with future planning of the professional end of the workforce; this paper is primarily concerned with the professional end of the workforce spectrum.
Having become a nation of raw materials exporters with relative low (and continuously decreasing production of elaborately transformed manufactures) that needs imports to survive we are in a parlous state; the policy of living off raw materials exports, having an ever-expanding services industry and public sector, and assuming that supply of essential goods is being truly tested. The COVID outbreak has destroyed the myth of there always being a balance between raw materials returns from sales versus the outward cash-flow for imported manufactures. For all the economic and social hazards created by COVID we may still exist as a trusted source of raw materials and have sufficient flow-on from that trade to keep Australia relatively stable and comparatively prosperous.
Continuity of Supply in ASEAN's Renewables Centred Power Systems
The ASEAN group of ten economies is centred in Southeast Asia and straddles the equator. The climate is wet monsoonal, and the region has very high humidity during the monsoon and a heat/dust haze in the dry season. Part of ASEAN -- Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and to a lesser extent Thailand -- suffers from a smoke haze as well, this haze being caused by jungle burn-offs in Sumatra and Kalimantan. The high humidity and haze reduce the effective solar radiation hitting the earth. The closeness to the equator reduces reliability of wind through the Coriolis Effect.
The reduction in effective solar radiance and the lack of wind severely reduces the potential of the two major sources of renewable energy to produce electricity. The region has to rely on the more exotic renewables like waste-to-energy (direct combustion and biogas production) and potentially limited dendro-thermal, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), tidal and wave. Note: Dendro-thermal and other biomass to energy systems compete with food growing on arable land. There are major limitations on the production of renewable power in the ASEAN region, with the energy gap needing to be filled by fossil fuel and/or nuclear energy.
Helium: Are There Commercial Resources in Myanmar and Elsewhere in Southeast Asia?
Helium (He) is a noble monoatomic gas and a strategic mineral. It is used in industry, rocketry and in medicine (in MRI Scanners). It is used to attain super-conductivity in a number of minerals. Helium is an atomic alpha (α) particle, however it is not radioactive, nor can it be made radioactive.
Helium occurs in some natural gas (NG) resources in concentrations that can be only a trace, say less than 0.04% to over 10%. It always occurs with nitrogen and in some instances the hosting NG has relatively low concentrations of methane. He can be separated from NG and produced in concentrations of >99.999% purity as a compressed gas or a cryogenic liquid. Note: The presentation discusses the separation of He from NG.
Do Myanmar's extensive NG resources contain Helium? When gas discoveries are made samples are sent for analysis; in recent times those analyses include He. In some cases He can be found in gas seeps associated with deep geological faulting, such as is the case in Tanzania. The relevant question thus becomes, "is there He in gas seeps emanating from the Sagaing or associated faults?" It should be noted that soil/rock gas exhalation surveys are a useful geoscience tool.