Helium Extraction Act of 2017 aims to ease the path to new US sources


The Energy and Resources Sub-committee of the House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing in Washington, DC on 21st June to hear testimony on a discussion draft of the Helium Extraction Act of 2017.

The purpose of this proposed act is to amend the Mineral Leasing Act to provide that extraction of helium from gas produced under a Federal mineral lease shall maintain the lease as if the helium were oil and gas. Under current law, companies can lose mineral leases after a decade if they are not using them to produce either oil or natural gas.

The Helium Extraction Act would correct an anachronism in the existing law, in that, when originally enacted, the Mineral Leasing Act did not contemplate a time when it would be economically viable to extract helium from gas that does not also contain commercially recoverable hydrocarbons. With increased interest in recovering helium from domestic sources, the Helium Extraction Act of 2017 would remove an obstacle to extracting helium from Federal land, particularly in the Southwestern United States, where high helium concentrations are present in some deposits of non-hydrocarbon gas.

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