The Bureau of Land Management’s Federal Helium Program is planning an auction and sale of federally owned crude helium for delivery beginning in fiscal year 2019. The auction is scheduled for July 18, 2018. After the auction, the BLM will invite the helium industry to bid for crude helium in an unallocated sale. This effort will facilitate development opportunities that create jobs and help local communities grow.
The auction complies with the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013, which established an auction system for the sale of federal helium and mandated that all property, equipment, and interest held by the United States in the Federal Helium Reserve be disposed of by Sept. 30, 2021. The BLM conducted sales and auctions for fiscal years 2014 through 2018, and enhanced the process based upon public and stakeholders’ comments. As a result, the BLM will use the same auction and sale process used for FY 2018 for the FY 2019 delivery. The auction will be announced in the Federal Register on Friday.
The Federal Helium Program is responsible for the conservation and sale of federally owned helium. The BLM operates and maintains a helium storage reservoir, enrichment plant, and pipeline system near Amarillo, Texas, that supplies enough helium to meet more than 40 percent of domestic demand for the gas.
Helium is used in the testing of rocket engines, welding, commercial diving, and production of 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.
Additional documents relating to the proposed plan for the FY 2019 auction and sale, including documents related to previous Federal Register notices and the 2019 Auction Guide, can be found on the BLM’s Helium Program website at http://www.blm.gov/programs/energy-and-minerals/helium. The auction will be held at the BLM Amarillo Field Office, 801 South Fillmore Street, Suite 500, in Amarillo, Texas.