Air Products lawsuit seeks delay to Federal Helium System sale


The timing of the planned sale of the Federal Helium System assets has been thrown into doubt by a lawsuit from Air Products seeking a delay.

As it stands the General Services Administration (GSA)’s plan is for bidders to present themselves by November 13 and for bidding itself to open on November 15.

But it has emerged that on September 7 Air Products filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas requesting to enjoin the US Department of the Interior, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the GSA from proceeding with the sale. The move is not totally unexpected. Private industry, which collectively has a large quantity of crude helium stored in the BLM and operates four helium-refining facilities that rely on the BLM system for delivery of feed gas, has been lobbying quite hard to postpone or cancel the asset sale in recent years.

This is partly because the gas companies have concerns about the impact of the sale on their ability to deliver crude helium from the helium storage reservoir, the future cost of doing so, and their ability to operate their facilities.

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