Photo by Jamie Swank.
By Julie Johansen
Vance Blydo, Vice President of Operations for North American Helium, LLC, requested a release from the $1,000,000 bond from Emery County at the commission meeting on Tuesday. This is required before they can begin drilling within the county.
Blydo reported that his company has been Calgary based since 2013. They have invested $75 million for exploration in Utah and Canada. He also listed Emery County as a “helium kitchen” because of the geological formations, uranium and thorium deposits found here.
In 2015, the United States privatized the helium plant in Texas. Since then, the demand for helium has grown. He continued to state that the Department of the Interior has listed helium as a critical element. Blydo spoke of the uses of helium in medicine beside the cooling and lifting ability of the element.
“Helium is a vital element. From medical imaging and research to space exploration and national defense applications, major technologies in our lives rely on helium,” the company shared. “Our goal is to develop new sources of helium supply in North America, the world’s largest helium market, to ensure that this vital element is available for science and industry in the coming decades.”
North American Helium plans to drill 20 miles northeast of Hanksville, east of Highway 24. This is on Bureau of Land Management ground and their Environmental Assessment Statement has been completed.
The commissioners asked Blydo to write a request, including his company’s cost of purchasing the $1 million bond, and return it to them for approval or denial.