The 2015 Worldwide Helium Market – Abundant Helium Supply. . . for Now


Two-thousand and fourteen was an eventful year for the world’s helium industry, although “plentiful supply without allocation” was the mantra. In 2013 new large sources of helium came on-stream in Algeria and Qatar and ramped up in the second half of 2014 causing a surplus in supply.

The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reduced supply from FY2013 to FY2014 by approximately 650 million cubic feet (mmcf) because of forecasted depletion and reduced demand for crude by the refiners on the crude pipeline. The BLM implemented the first public auction on July 30, 2014 for 93 mmcf of crude helium from the Federal Helium Reserve in accordance with the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 (HSA), with further impact on the world’s valuation of crude costs from the significantly higher price for the auctioned crude. Meanwhile, access to plentiful supply began to weaken retail helium prices. Helium recovery, recycle, and substitution have further eroded helium demand permanently in some applications. The net effect of all this was the world’s helium demand-supply relationship changed in the short span of a year from one of acute shortage to one of surplus in supply.

Intelligas Consulting, on behalf of CryoGas International, spoke with the helium experts and managers at major industrial gas companies and distributorships to get an insider’s view of this critical market and the changes underway within it. Most stated that there is sufficient helium to meet demand for the next few years provided crude feed is provided as planned.

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