To help ensure the “secure, sustainable and affordable supply” of Helium (He) for the European Union (EU) manufacturing industry, the EU has added it to its Critical Raw Material List.
First put forward in 2008 to tackle the challenges related to the access to raw materials, the European commission has updated its list of 27 “critical raw materials”. Nine materials, including He, have been added, updating the 2014 list.
He Markets have been unstable in recent years with three years of global shortage during the period 2011 to 2013, followed by two years of oversupply caused by the start of production from the Qatar II plant in 2014 to 2015. The global He market was on course to find equilibrium, however limited output from Qatar in 2017 (due to the geopolitical situation with its neighbours, and consequent border closures) is likely to have created another global supply shortage.
The USA is the world’s leading He supplier followed by Quatar. Algeria, Austrialia, Canada, Poland and Russia are also producing nations.
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