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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.  Today the compressor is operational, has been running in recycle mode, and final operational procedures (integration, stat-ups and shut-downs) are being learned by the crew. Projected commissioning date is Thursday, March 12. 

March 5, 2015 – BLM continues to work with contractors to make preparations for the 24 hour commission run.  The plan is to keep the compressor operating after the test and observe performance.  Official commissioning date is expected to be March 12, 2015. Although the risk is low, the BLM will announce the potential for a plant outage during this process.

February 27, 2015 – The contractors have provided employee training for operating the new compressor.   A programmer was on site this week to reverse the suction control valve routines and program corrections for the Guardian Control Center.   Contractor made arrangements to make repairs for the leaks next week.

February 24, 2015 - Contractor discovered dowel pins on the electrical motor were loose.  The contractor hydraulically tightened the loose pins and confirmed the motor was operational.  These issues were repaired however they did delay integration of the K-100 and New Compressor.  An oil leak and also a coolant leak were found during the 24 hour recycle run.  The commissioning punch list is still being addressed by the contractors.  Employee training will be provided during this week.

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

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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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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