A number of major global helium suppliers are beginning to tighten up their allotment to customers and other smaller distributors as they take an increasingly cautious approach to the market.
At least two major suppliers are restricting supply to 100% of their customers’ historical consumption in some regions, reports gasworld’s Rob Cockerill. The decision has been made because helium markets are once again experiencing tight supply conditions, although it is unclear exactly why.
The idea behind the decision is to prevent stockpiling in lieu of the depletion of the US helium reserve, which is widely expected to occur in approximately two years.
How this development will affect pricing and availability is yet to be determined, although much of the market will depend on the ability of private mining companies to meet the growing demand for helium in the coming years.
“For the second time in less than 12 months, we are staring at the prospect of another global helium shortage,” says Phil Kornbluth, president of Kornbluth Helium Consulting. Phil warned that global helium markets may experience a tenuous balance between supply and demand for the remainder of 2018, saying; “This new warning appears to have the hallmarks of a potentially more sustained impact.”