Prior to sitting down to pen my editorial for our annual Helium Issue at gasworld US Edition several weeks ago, I found myself wondering what my overriding message or angle would be.
For anyone that’s been in – or reported on – the helium business for a great many years, it’s difficult not to come back to many of the same underlying themes or sentiments. Shortages; customers on allocation; higher pricing; recycling and reuse; demand erosion; optimism for the end of shortages; then, unexpected outages and fresh market tightness. And so, the story repeats…
As we all know, this is a familiar plot line this year. But with our latest helium webinar at gasworld TV fast-approaching and little in the way of helium headlines of late, almost eerily so, I’ve once again found myself pondering the position we’re in with helium.
After all the talk of a new dawn in helium in 2022, the arrival of Gazprom’s Amur capacity to the table, and even a swing to a probably glut in supply in the near future, by February (2022) we were thrust back into the same old story. An incident at the Amur facility took that capacity back off the table almost as soon as it had emerged, while maintenance programs at other sources and supply chains disrupted by wider geopolitical issues have all left the market crunched.
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