A year of supply constraints, shipping pressures and rising prices – coupled with wars and accidents, healthcare challenges and soaring semiconductor demand – have created a perfect storm for operators grappling with ‘Helium shortage 4.0’.
Yet the clear message from the Global Helium and the Role of MENA in the Supply Chain session, on the opening day of the Abu Dhabi MENA Industrial Gases 2022 conference, is there may be some grounds for optimism – whether that’s through new products, fresh or returning capacity and market developments. Optimism that is, however, tempered with uncertainty.
The market has experienced unprecedented pressures primarily due to the natural gas explosion at Gazprom’s headline new Amur plant. If and when it returns this year (2023), it has the potential to make a significant contribution to supply and help moderate prices.
In fact, according to Phil Kornbluth, Founder and President of Kornbluth Helium Consulting, the Gazprom-Amur gas processing project will be the single biggest factor affecting helium markets in the next four years, and it will be a very low-cost product (sub-$200mcf) until initial pricing reopens, as that pricing was established pre-Helium Shortage 3.0 with conservative price indexation.
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