gasworld is in the process of planning the 2016 summit event, Helium Summit 2.0. After the success of its 2013 summit Helium Summit, and the developments in the helium market over the last few years, gasworld believes the time is right to revisit this perennial hot topic.

With the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposing to sell and auction federally owned crude helium on August 18th, 2015, there is no time like the present to start thinking about the agenda for gasworld’s Helium Summit 2.0.

After three years of significant shortages, the global helium business now finds itself in a state of over-supply. Some estimates suggest that the entry of new capacity in the market in late 2013 and early 2014 achieved up to a 25% increment in world helium supply.

Start-up of the world’s largest helium purification and liquefaction unit - Qatar II - at Ras Laffan and expansion of the Skikda plant in Algeria were perhaps the most notable additions in capacity, though a small amount of product from Gazprom’s renewed Orenburg plant in Russia also buoyed the market.

Coupled with a relative lack of major outages at a number of the industry’s key sources, and continued supply from the Federal Helium Reserve in the medium term, last year saw the helium pendulum swing in rapid fashion - from stark shortages to over-supply.

For the outlook in the year ahead, however, it is expected that the market’s over-supply will begin to subside, with balance possibly returning by the end of 2016. Beyond 2016, questions over supply and availability could begin to resurface as the gradual decline of the BLM pipeline continues through to 2020.

Helium Summit 2.0 is looking to take place mid-September 2016, with suggestions of New Jersey or Europe as possible locations. But we want you to tell us your thoughts on everything helium; from the topics you want to hear about, to the location and venue. Leave your comments below, or email conferences@gasworld.com.