Rio Grande Gorge, New Mexico
Mimbres Black-on-White Bowl, New Mexico Lesser Prairie Chicken, New Mexico Rafting the Rio Grande, New Mexico Wild Horse, New Mexico Oil Rig, Oklahoma
New Mexico
BLM>New Mexico>Energy & Minerals>Helium Program>Helium Operations
Print Page

Federal Helium Operations

News & Alerts

Central Compression Project
The central compression project to produce from the Bush Dome reservoir was started about five years ago, and is on target to be finished by December 31, 2014.

February 17, 2015 – The contractor (Reliable Contracting Group) for the central compression had several subcontractors on location Friday, February 13, 2015.  The electrical equipment was put through a full check and it was discovered that the wiring in the soft start portion of the motor control center had been incorrectly wired at the factory.  This was corrected on location, and the 2500 HP electric motor was turned over several times without any faults.

The week of February 23, a subcontractor (UE Compression) will be on location to finish commissioning the compressor, followed by training, and start-up of the compressor.  The BLM is expecting to start the compressor on Thursday, February 26, 2015.  The BLM will attempt to simultaneously produce into the plant and into the central compression.  After performing necessary tests on the central compressor, the compressed gas from the central compression will route to the existing compressor (K-100).  There is a potential for the plant to go down during these operations.

January 30, 2015 - During the process for commissioning of the central compressor, the contractor encountered problems with start-up of the 2500 HP motor. Testing was done on the motor, and it was discovered that the Motor Control Center related to the soft start was defective. The electrical components will be delivered /installed on Monday, February 2, 2015, and the motor briefly energized for rotation and to validate operations. The contractor is checking with the compressor manufacturer to see when their technicians can be mobilized to complete commissioning, and provide operator training on the compressor.

First Federal Helium Auction Generates Over $14 Million for US Treasury
Amarillo, Texas -- July 30, 2014 -- The Bureau of Land Management conducted the first auction of federal helium under the terms of the recently enacted Helium Stewardship Act. A total of 92 Mmcf from the Federal Helium Reserve near Amarillo was sold, representing 10 percent of the total volume BLM will make available from the Reserve in Fiscal Year 2015. The helium was sold in 12 lots ranging from five to 10 MMcf, with bids ranging from $130 to $180 per Mcf, generating a total of $14,972,568 in revenue.

Annual Plant Service Outage

January 21, 2015 -  The Bureau of Land Management is planning to start up the new compression to feed the Crude Helium Enrichment Unit on Wednesday, 1-21-2015.  The BLM is going to attempt to keep the plant running during the start up process.  It is possible that we could potentially have a plant outage from implementing this process.

December 16 - The DCS Historian computer has failed and BLM has lost access to historical data and the ability to view plant trends.  Alarm and HMI screens are still functional. The CRLP has been notified and actions are being taken to correct the situation. While the plant continues running, the ability of the BLM downtown office to collect production data, and ability to push data to the web based reporting system are affected.  The contractor has been authorized by the CRLP to take corrective action. 

Last Outage Report July 28 - August 19: The BLM has experienced the longest scheduled outage for the CHEU to date. The plant was out of production for 23 days.

The next potential outage is December 2014 for Central Compression startup and testing.

Storage & Pipeline Operations

 Pipeline Activity (updated daily)
      Pipeline Activity Map:   Today  |  Yesterday 
      Pipeline Pressure Trend:  Today  |  Yesterday

How to Establish a Storage Contract and Pipeline Connection Point
Helium Storage Contract - Reference 2011
Storage Fees

Crude Helium Auctions & Sales

Crude Helium Price
Methodology for Calculating Helium Price
2014 Auction Results/Tally
2014 Conservation Helium Sales Results
2014 Conservation Helium Sales Results, Phase A Part B
2015 Conservation Helium Sales Results
2016 Advance Conservation Helium Sales Results

2014 Refiner Estimated Excess Capacity
2015 Refiner Estimated Excess Capacity

Sales Fees


In-Kind Helium Registration
In-Kind Sales Contract

In-Kind Draft MOU (Memorandum of Understanding)
Authorized List of Federal Helium Suppliers
In-Kind Fees

Helium Stewardship Act Transparency

Image of 'He' neon sign

The Helium Stewardship Act requires BLM to make specific information about ongoing operations and maintenance of the Federal Helium Reserve readily available to the public.  Click here for a complete listing.


Document & Report Library

Helium Stewardship Act Implementation Forms and Notices
Statistical Reports/Operations Summaries Archive (2008 - present)
Crude Helium IFO Archive (2003 - present)
Crude Helium Sales Archive (2005 - present)
Historical Architectural Engineering Report (HAER) for Amarillo and Exell Plants


Image of Crude Helium Enrichment Unit

    Energy & Minerals Home

    Helium Program Home

About Helium

Helium Resources on Federal Land

Federal Helium Operations

    Amarillo Field Office


Industry FAQs

Helium Stewardship Act (PDF)

Inquiries about helium operations may be directed to Sam Burton, Assistant Field Manager for Helium Operations, (806) 356-1025.

Helium Auction, Federal Helium Reserve, Amarillo TX, June 30,2014
Helium Auction, Federal Helium Reserve, Amarillo TX, June 30,2014

Bush Dome Helium Reservoir: Annual Helium Conference, July 31, 2014