Air Liquide has been awarded a contract by RasGas to build the world’s largest helium extraction, purification, and liquefaction unit, in Ras Laffan, Qatar. The unit will add annual capacity of 38 million m3 when completed in 2013. With this unit and an existing 20 million m3 unit, the Qatar site will account for 25% of worldwide helium production. Shortages of helium have plagued research, medical, and industrial users for a number of years, particularly as U.S. production has waned. Air Liquide will purchase 50% of the new unit’s output, Linde will get 30%, and Japan’s Iwatani will get the balance.