Navajo Transitional Energy Company acquires helium company on Navajo Nation
FARMINGTON — The Navajo Transitional Energy Company has acquired the helium development company, Tacitus LLC, and its related subsidiaries.
NTEC announced the acquisition in a news release on Oct. 15, stating the purchase consists of helium wells and infrastructure in the Tocito Dome Field, an area west of U.S. Highway 491 near Little Water and part of the Tsé Alnaozt'i'í Chapter on the Navajo Nation.
Also included are federal and state leases for additional exploration in Utah.
NTEC CEO Clark Moseley said in the release that helium is a "vital resource to the world" and has been identified "as a key strategic asset" for the United States.
Helium is second in abundance in the universe but not common on Earth. The majority of helium on the planet is beneath the ground and is extracted from minerals or tapped gas deposits.
The U.S. produces a majority of the world's supply of helium at 78%.
"The Navajo Nation possesses some of the largest and cleanest known helium reserves in the world. Tacitus was an early advocate for the development of helium on the Navajo Nation and we are excited to expand our operations on the Navajo Nation by acquiring Tacitus and its existing helium operations and leases," Moseley said in the release.
Officials for NTEC, which is an enterprise of the Navajo Nation, did not respond on Oct. 19 to follow-up questions about the purchase price and the number of employees affected by the acquisition.
A website for Tacitus lists a Farmington address, and a phone call to the company could not be completed with the number listed.
Uses for helium range from inflating party balloons to cooling the superconducting magnets in MRI scanners – when liquefied.
The quality of the helium produced in the Tocito Dome Field is pure enough that the need for processing is reduced, making it one of the cleanest deposits in the world., according to NTEC.
Moseley said the production of helium is already generating revenue for the Navajo Nation.
"We look forward to continuing to grow and develop this vital source of helium. Acquisition of this proven resource makes sense for NTEC's portfolio," he said.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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