Helium shortage update - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Helium shortage update

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Amarillo, Texas - There is optimism locally that the ongoing helium shortage will ease by the end of this year.

The 11 month shortage is the longest one we've ever experienced, but a helium operations manager tells us the future is looking positive.

In March of last year we told you about our Amarillo plant saying they could run out of helium in the next six years

But the US House is looking to address the shortage with new legislation dealing with how we sale and distribute the helium.

Sam Burton of Helium Operations says, "that could potentially extend the helium field to 2025 or to 2030, depending on what kind of guidance we get from Washington, and we don't know that yet. That's still coming down the line. And of course that would impact jobs to 2025 or 2030."

We also brought up a question he says he is far too familiar with.

Why are we sitting on all of this helium and not doing anything with it.

Burton says, "that's something that we hear a lot actually. But the Bureau of Land Management has been working on this field and producing it at maximum capacity which is about six million cubic feet per day. That's roughly 30 good year blimps a day being produced. We've been doing that from 2003 to the present. So we've been very much actively producing the field, not just sitting on it and hoarding it."

He says by the end of the year they're expecting the helium markets to be restored to what people normally see.

He also wanted the community to know there are several alternatives available.

Burton says there are about 100 years of helium in the Wyoming gas fields, as well as the Russian federation.

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