BLM hosts world's first helium auction - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

BLM hosts world's first helium auction

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Amarillo, TX - The Bureau of Land Management's Amarillo Field Office will host the world's first helium auction this afternoon at the Federal Helium Reserve near Amarillo.

The auction is a part of an implementation plan developed in response to the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 (HSA).This act mandated the transition of helium to private owners. Congress passed the act in October 2013, which established an auction system for the sale of the federally owned helium.


All property, equipment and interest held by the United States in the Federal Helium Reserve is mandated to be disposed of by Sept. 30, 2021. The BLM responded to the act by implementing a FY 2014 plan which provides an orderly transition to a privatized system through a series of auctions and sales to ensure minimal market disruption.

The plan also includes measures to ensure that Federal users of helium can continue to have a supply of the gas, and the disposal of the government assets in the system no later than Sept. 30, 2021. This plan will give the BLM a way to ensure the agency properly and efficiently fulfills the Congressional mandate before the set date. The FY 2014 plan will be announced in the Federal Register on July 23, 2014, under the title "Implementation of Helium Stewardship Act Sales and Auctions."

Experts said 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 users who conduct magnetic resonance imaging and other scientific applications.

Other industries depend on helium's lifting powers for operating weather and party balloons. The Federal Helium Program is responsible for the conservation and sale of federally-owned helium.

The BLM manages a helium storage reservoir, enrichment plant, and pipeline system near Amarillo, which supplies more than 40 percent of the domestic demand for helium.

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  • Cori Duke

    Cori Duke

    Cori joined NewsChannel 10 in May 2014. She is an Amarillo native and is excited to be back home venturing into the news industry.
    Cori joined NewsChannel 10 in May 2014. She is an Amarillo native and is excited to be back home venturing into the news industry.