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View Diary: And We’re Running out of Helium (39 comments)

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  •  US is running out of helium - not world (2+ / 0-)
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    ybruti, JeffW

    Until 1996, the US had a quasi monopoly on the production of helium, which is extracted from natural gas. However the economics of extraction are such that it is only economic if done downstream of some major treatment process, like nitrogen rejection or liquefaction.

    In 1995 the Us produced around 3 billion cf of helium in its pure form and maybe a billion more in crude form which was sold to the USBM for storage in its Cliffside salt dome storage facility. Around the end of the 90's the USBM stopped buying and have since decide to sell off their strategic stock.

    Since 1995, there are may new sources of helium outside the US , Helios Arzew 1995 600mmcf/yr, Skikda Algeria 2006 (rated 600 mmcf/year  but not running at full production) Qatar 2006 - 600mmcf per year - slow to start but now running almost full bore. Plus I believe a small plant in Australia, and an increase in Russian production.

    A further plant 600 mmcf is planned for Qatar, and several smaller units are under construction in the US.

    Worldwide supply is not at risk as Qatar has huge volumes of gas being processed and only a few per cent is currently being extracted.

    "Mama, takes these guns off of me, I don't need them anymore"

    by senilebiker on Wed Aug 25, 2010 at 02:44:16 AM PDT

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