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Federal Helium Operations

News & Alerts

Update - Tuesday, July 22, 2015
The Cliffside Helium Extraction Unit (HEU) has returned to near capacity with a pipeline pressure at 3:30 P.M on July 22, 2015 of 1107 psig.  This will be the final report for the instrument air failure event that occurred on July 20, 2015.

Plant Outage Report- Tuesday, July 21, 2015
The Cliffside Helium Extraction Unit (HEU) went down at 5:00 p.m. on July 21, 2015, due to a failure in the instrument air system.  One unit was down for repair and the other unit could not maintain an adequate supply to furnish the necessary instrument air volume.  It went down and would not immediately restart.  Operations have begun to cool the system.  These updates will be provided on the website in the morning and by close of business until the plant is in full production.

Plant Outage Report- Tuesday, July 7, 2015
The BLM has completed repairs to the K-600 valves and the DGA solution system.  Startup was delayed due to problems with the Reboiler (Fire Eye) system. Contractors from (MAXON) and Federal Services LLC assisted the BLM with troubleshooting and tuning of the reboiler system.  The CHEU process was returned to the BLM operations staff 4:15 PM Saturday and the plant is now back in full operation.  The BLM reports as of 0015 on July 7, 2015, Cliffside HEU Plant reached full production at 3 Million a day.   Pipeline pressure is at 862 psig. The CHEU is expected to produce at 3 million a day until the next shut down in the fall (TBD).

This concludes the plant update process for the June 30 scheduled plant outage.

Proposed Plan, Schedule for FY16 Sale, Auction of Federal Helium
The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to sell and auction federally owned crude helium on August 18, 2015, at its Amarillo Field Office near Amarillo, TX, for delivery in Fiscal Year 2016. Click here to view Federal Register Notice.

Satellite Communications Problem 
The BLM satellite communications have been restored and the satellite data collection system is once again working properly. Web based reporting is again functional. The outage started around April 7, and was correct by the end of May.  Thanks to all the satellite contractor technicians and BLM staffers that assisted in making these critical repairs!

Central Compression Project
The BLM has completed repairs/testing on the lightning damage to the central compressor.  The compressor has been running in recycle mode for over eight hours and is once again fully operational. Work continues with the CliffsideRefiners Limited Partnership (CRLP) to integrate the new compressor with the existing plant.

Click here for the complete timeline 

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

March 12, 2015 – The BLM is planning to perform final commissioning of the new compression to feed the CHEU on Thursday, March 12, 2015.  The BLM is going to attempt to keep the plant running after completing required testing.  It is possible that we could potentially have a plant outage from implementing this process.

March 8, 2015 – The BLM is reporting the CHEU went down due to an electrical issue on Sunday, March 8 at around 7:30pm.  The BLM is in the process of getting the plant up to full production.  This should be accomplished by 8:00pm on March 9.

Last Outage Report July 28 - August 19 – The BLM has experienced the longest scheduled outage for the Crude Helium Enrichment Unit (CHEU) to date.  The plant was out of production for 23 days.

The next potential outage is July 20, 2015, for annual plant scheduled maintenance.

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


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    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