Royal Helium drilling near Ogema, SK, in late 2021. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

 

American helium policy shifts drove Saskatchewan helium development

In a move that will likely have an impact, one way or another, on Saskatchewan’s burgeoning helium industry, the United States Bureau of Land Management is selling off what’s left of the Federal Helium System. For decades, the US federal helium system had an enormous impact on the helium supply on this continent. And the Congress-mandated sale of the nation’s mammoth helium reserves had led to the growth of helium development in Saskatchewan in recent years. 

Here’s the BLM press release of March 7, verbatim:

SANTA FE, N.M. – As directed by the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013, the Bureau of Land Management has accepted an offer to dispose of the Federal Helium System, including its supply of federally-owned helium currently stored in the Federal Helium Reserve near Amarillo, Texas. Following a sealed bid opening conducted by the General Services Administration on January 25, the BLM has accepted two bids totaling $423,350,000 from Messer LLC.

For nearly two years, Messer LLC, has operated the system under contract to the BLM and has demonstrated it is capable of continued production and delivery of helium.

“Accepting these bids is the next step in fulfilling our obligation under the Helium Stewardship Act and protects the interest of the taxpayers and the government,” said BLM New Mexico State Director Melanie Barnes. “Messer LLC has operated the system on contract capably over the past two years, and we look forward to a seamless transfer.”

Pending review by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division, Messer LLC has 120 calendar days to complete the sale.

More information is available on the BLM website.

 

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