Helium Supply Update
As you may have read in the news or various trade articles there are significant changes unfolding in the global helium supply network. We at CK Supply have been closely monitoring these changes in sourcing and distribution as the domestic supply begins to wind down. As your trusted supplier we believe it is in the best interest of our customers to inform and educate about what impacts we anticipate seeing here locally.
Why is access to Helium so limited?
Helium is created by the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium found under the earth’s crust. It is also a by-product of natural gas production and can only found in high concentrations in certain areas of the world. Domestically the US has benefited from a large source in and around North Texas that has been declining in storage and will be privatized and available to federal users only by September 30, 2021.
While the domestic Helium resources have been dwindling the demand has steadily increased. Helium has a wide variety of industrial uses including balloons, fiber optics, glass production, aerospace, research, leak detection and of course welding applications. Due to its unique properties many industry applications have not found or researched alternative methods to reduce or eliminate their helium use.
In order to satisfy the US demand for helium moving forward it will require importing product overseas from production locations such as Qatar, Russia, Africa and likely other places not yet discovered.
What can we do about it?
We along with industry experts believe that helium resources may be limited and volatile with pricing that will continue to increase in the near term. Our company along with the majority of other providers are operating under an ‘allocation’ with firm caps on how much helium we can purchase at a given time.
Here at CK we have responded by exploring opportunities to mitigate the disruption that may occur for our customers financially and operationally. We have done this by continuing to strengthen our contractual efforts with our customers and suppliers in order to leverage all current and additional molecules that may come available.
We are also making efforts to free up as much of our current allocation for critical use by offering alternative helium solutions. We have had several recent success stories with customers using industry proven alternative options in the welding and leak detection space.
Also, as alternative sources become available we will be exploring relationships and investment opportunities to increase and diversify our supply network.
As our mission at CK is to be a reliable, competitive and solutions focused resource for all your welding and gas related needs we will continue to communicate any future impacts as the market unfolds.
Please contact your CK sales representative or me directly with any questions or comments.
Brad Dunn, CK Supply, Brad@CeeKay.com , 314-221-2861
Additional resources: https://www.gasworldconferences.com/conference/helium-summit-2018/?dat=629ADEBA9B8AD476B8A2338E5460F837#downloads