Crisis averted – What next for the helium market?


When the US House of Representatives unanimously backed measures to re-authorize the Federal Helium Program at the end of September, in many respects it was a case of crisis averted. For the helium business and end-users alike, it brings an element of conclusion to a storyline in the making for some time. The market is able to take a step back from the edge of the ‘Helium Cliff’.

September 25, 2013 was almost a momentous day; the US House of Representatives passed the resolution that would suspend its procedural rules and adopt the Senate version of legislation, to thereby re-authorize the Federal Helium Program, a vote unanimously in favor at 367 – 0.

This eliminated the need for a conference committee, as both the House and Senate had backed the Bill and all that remained was a journey to the White House for President Obama’s signature. The long hoped for Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 is, in effect, now law and the industry’s access to one of the world’s biggest sources of helium – the BLM-operated Federal Helium Reserve in Texas – is secure for the immediate future.

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