Although there were a handful of other contributing factors, most helium market observers would peg the beginning of Helium Shortage 4.0 to the start of an extended outage of the US Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Crude Helium Enrichment Unit (CHEU) back in mid-January 2022.
While Helium Shortage 4.0 remains in place as of early September and now exceeds 19 months in duration, we are starting to see clear indications that it is finally subsiding.
While supply allocations remain in place at three of the five helium majors, allocation percentages have increased for most demand sectors – in some cases all the way to 100%. We should note, at the same time, that an allocation rate of 100% is not an “all clear” signal, as customers are restricted to purchasing 100% of the quantity of helium that they purchased during a specified prior period. Allocation percentages vary from one supplier to another, depending on the strength of their supply portfolios.
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