Helium Shortage

I recently read from Growth Stock Wire that we will soon be facing a helium shortage. Is this true, and what will be the effect on us?

The Information gave a historic summary regarding the U.S. as the world's largest producer of the helium. And it was also stated that they have a federal helium reserve in a depleted natural gas field outside Amarillo, Texas. It was created in 1960 and holds more than 20 billion cubic feet, or three years of global supply. But the U.S. government plans on selling off the reserves by 2015.

In the meantime, industrial demand for helium will be at it's peack,because Helium is used to produce computer chips, optical fibers, flat-panel displays, laser welding, and cooling magnets in MRI machines.

The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (or MRI) uses 20% of the helium produced. Liquid helium is the coldest substance on earth, at -452 Fahrenheit. These machines need liquid helium to cool the magnets that are used to create the images.

While MRI's are the largest consumer, they aren't the most visible. The helium balloon industry uses 8% of all the helium produced. But now the industry can't get enough helium, so balloons are actually being limited to some party stores.

Helium comes from the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium and are trapped in the same formations as the natural gas. All commercial helium comes as a byproduct of natural gas production. There are new plants in Algeria and Qatar but haven't come on stream.

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