The Biden administration just sold the Federal Helium Reserve, a deal that involves pipelines in Oklahoma, Kansas and the Texas Panhandle, and it worries some in the medical community.
The reserve is located in a large underground facility in Amarillo and supplies up to 30% of the helium used across the country. The helium is stored at the Cliffside Storage Facility about 12 miles northwest of Amarillo, Texas, in a natural geologic gas storage formation, the Bush Dome reservoir.
Reports indicate that after the Helium Acts Amendments of 1960, the U.S. Bureau of Mines arranged for five private plants to recover the helium from natural gas. The Bureau constructed a 425-mile pipeline from Bushton, Kansas to connect the plants with the depleted Cliffside Gas field where the gas was injected and stored.
NBC News reported the anticipated high bidder, Messer, will claim 425 miles of pipeline in the three states as well as 1 billion cubic feet of the element cold enough on the planet to make an MRI machine work. The huge amount of reserves of natural gas in the three states made the U.S. the largest helium producing country around the globe.
But as NBC reported, the sale could have serious consequences for the medical community, especially with MRIs.
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