NTEC Helium FAQs

As a steward of the Navajo Nation's natural resources, we seek to sustainably manage the Nation's helium reserves to ensure the ongoing well-being of the Navajo community.

Is helium dangerous?

No. Definitely not. Helium is NOT dangerous, hazardous, or radioactive. It is also not poisonous to humans or the environment. Helium is an inert gas meaning it does not react with other chemicals and it cannot catch or create fire.

How does helium extraction impact water?

Fresh water is not impacted by helium extraction. Water wells target much shallower formations at 1000 ft or less below the surface, while helium is extracted at depths of more than 6500 ft. NTEC’s wells use triple casing strings, or “pipe,” which are cemented in place to 1500 ft, to isolate freshwater zones from helium production.

Does helium extraction create any hazardous waste?

No hazardous waste is created from extracting helium. Helium extraction is very clean and very safe.

How much land is used by NTEC’s helium extraction?

Tocito Dome Field, decades prior to NTEC’s acquisition, was the site of oil drilling. When possible, NTEC uses the pre-existing wells or drill sites to extract helium, reducing land disturbance and minimizing impact.

What are the water tanks on-site used for?

During the extraction process, pressure is released with helium, and underground salt water from deep in the Earth rises with it. NTEC captures that water in tanks during extraction and then pumps it back to where it came from.

How does NTEC get helium out of the ground?

NTEC uses a drill rig to drill narrow holes or “wells” that are 8-17 inches in diameter through the hard soil and rock to release accumulations of helium that have been trapped for millions of years. A wellhead is installed, leaving no hole open at the surface.

Video: Coyote & Oleta Explore Helium Development on the Navajo Nation


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