Helium Supply

Hank Riley

Just one recent account of the situation from an industry trade mag. 

This is just an excerpt.  Suggest reading the whole article (at the link).

Helium: Here we go again, potentially

8 February 2018

For the second time in less than 12 months, we are staring at the prospect of another global helium shortage.

While last year’s feared shortage – brought about by the rather abrupt Qatar embargo situation in the summer – was short-lived at just a three-week shutdown, this new warning appears to have the hallmarks of a potentially more sustained impact.

At the very least, it further highlights the market’s fragilities and reliance upon the BLM-operated US Federal Helium Reserve in Amarillo (Texas), so soon after its exposure to geopolitical events had been starkly underlined.

At the heart of the industry is a reliance on a few mega-sources. Around 75% of all the helium consumed around the world is produced at three locations – Ras Laffan Industrial city in Qatar, ExxonMobil in Wyoming, US, and those helium refining facilities linked to the BLM Pipeline.

This is, therefore, an industry regularly at the mercy of the same old challenges; there seldom seems to be any great conviction that stability will last for long.