Fourth Annual Helium Auction Generates Nearly $60 Million
Meeting the vital needs of American families, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducted its fourth annual auction of Federal crude helium at the Amarillo Field Office, under the terms of the Helium Stewardship Act (Act) of 2013. The BLM offered a total of 500 million cubic feet (MMcf) from the Federal Helium Reserve near Amarillo, representing 55 percent of the total volume the BLM will make available from the Reserve in Fiscal Year 2018.
The BLM offered the Federal crude helium in 30 lots ranging from 5-25 MMcf to a diverse array of companies from around the world. Eight bidders were present at the auction, six of which purchased at least one lot. Bids ranged from $112 to $128 per thousand cubic feet, up from $105-$110/bid during the 2016 auction, generating a total of $59,655,000 in revenue.
The BLM operates and maintains a helium storage reservoir, enrichment plant, and pipeline system that supplies enough helium to meet more than 40 percent of domestic demand. The BLM Cliffside Plant, located about 12 miles northwest of Amarillo, provides about 15 percent of the global helium supply.
The Federal Helium Reserve is a resource owned by the American people and managed by the BLM. Crude helium is an important resource for technology development and other important uses related to national defense, energy, medicine, industry, and space exploration. For instance, helium is used in the testing of rocket engines, welding, commercial diving, and semiconductor chips. The element’s ability to reach very low temperatures attracts many commercial and institutional users who conduct magnetic resonance imaging and other scientific applications. Other industries depend on helium’s lifting powers for operating weather and party balloons.
For more information about the auction or the Federal Helium Program, please contact Amarillo Field Manager Samuel R.M. Burton at 806-356-1000.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.