So Whats Up with Helium?


There’s a shortage – right? That, at least, is the news that’s been disseminated for the last few years. With only a handful of studies as evidence, it was determined that the world supply of helium (He) is being used up at a disturbing rate and will soon run out. (Well, yeah, that could take two or three more centuries, but why mark time until things get out of hand, eh?)

We’re not ready to insist that a global helium shortage is nonsense; some evidence backs the perception. We’re more than ready, though, to assure you that Coastal Welding Supply in Beaumont and the PurityPlus® partner network of better than 150 specialty gas producers and distributors at 600 facilities nationwide are more than able to fulfill your helium needs well into the future. We’re also intent on spreading a little cheer about the world’s helium reserves. The reality is that there’s no reason to fret that there isn’t sufficient helium for your professional needs. Take it from us; you’ll have a lot of it to facilitate every analytical task you customarily perform, whether in the field of gas chromatography, spectroscopy, or mass spectrometry. The helium so vital for the operation of MRI scanners, for the creation of semiconductors and superconductors, for diverse space industry applications, and for hi-tech facilities involved in nuclear research is readily available – and will remain so – from Coastal Welding Supply.

The good news about global helium reserves is that there are almost surely more of them than we once recognized existed. According to more-recent studies:

  • A few geological sectors have shown groundwater bearing huge volumes of helium into natural gas fields and trapping it there.
  • Deep helium, freed in the birth of mountain ranges like the Rockies, has trickled via groundwater into subterrestrial reservoirs where natural gas is found also.
  • In places where volcanic eruptions are the norm, plenty of heat is produced in seismic turmoil to release helium from typical gas-trapping rock formations deeper underground into reservoirs closer to the earth’s surface. Obviously, it’s more accessible there – unless it’s too close to a volcano, which would make its extraction difficult.

What these findings evince is that, 1) we’ve long underestimated how much helium is really available to us, and 2) understanding how helium gets trapped in the natural reservoirs of which we have knowledge is disclosing where to hunt for new helium resources.

Nevertheless, there are some who contend that a helium crisis isn’t upon us, that helium is constantly produced in nature, and just liquifying more natural gas would make it possible for us to take higher quantities of helium from it. Certainly helium is extracted from natural gas through condensation. But the equipment required to do it has thus far remained pricey. This has discouraged widespread helium extraction from liquified natural gas (LNG). As equipment prices decrease, though, more helium extraction kits can be added to wells, enabling us to trap more of this noble gas before it would otherwise be burned up.

So, as we said earlier, never fear. We do have workable options for obtaining more helium. And you can trust Coastal Welding Supply here in Beaumont to have the helium you need – whether as a coolant, a pressurizer, or a cleaning agent – whenever and wherever you need it.