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Release Date: 08/20/10
Contacts: Leslie Theiss , (806)356-1002  

Bureau of Land Management Adjusts Price of Federal Crude Helium

Amarillo, TX – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has revised its methodology for calculating the price of the crude helium offered during its yearly Open Market Sale.  As a result, Federal Crude Helium will be sold at $75.00 per thousand cubic feet in FY2011 as compared to $64.75 in 2010.  This price covers helium debt repayment and interest and includes administrative and storage costs.

The BLM is responsible for administering the Department of the Interior’s Federal Helium Program following the intent and requirements of the Federal Helium Privatization Act of 1996 (Act). The Act established a minimum pricing for the helium based on a calculation that would retire the program’s total debt to the US Treasury by 2015. BLM has been charging the minimum price established by the Act, a price that represents the cost of the helium not its value on the open market.  

The new pricing methodology is in response to recommendations from the recently released National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report, “Selling the Nation’s Helium Reserve”.  The report identified recommendations that serve the US national interests and the interests of US taxpayers. The NAS report suggests that selling crude helium at market price rather than the legislated minimum could, “enable more rapid retirement of BLM facilities debt to the US Treasury – a central goal of the 1996 Act.”

The new pricing methodology is being applied to open market helium sales only. The cost of helium sold for federal purposes will continue to be the minimum allowed by the Act.

The BLM’s Amarillo Field Office oversees the Federal Helium Program. “Our goal is to get a fair price for a scarce government resource” said Leslie Theiss, the Amarillo Field Manager.

The NAS report is available on line at:

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Last updated: 01-08-2013