Low Helium Supply Hurting Balloon Industry


An impressive show of helium balloons was on full display in the US in Summer of 2012 at the Republican National Convention. The show was uplifting and not only rose above the political fray in the US but symbolized a unified effort that would be forthcoming. This Summer the traditional helium balloon send-off welcomed Mitt Romney as Republican Presidential nominee in Tampa, Florida.

Appearances can be deceiving. The helium balloon industry in the UK and on the whole is in a decline. Helium supply is the cause for flat sales, not the safety design or construction of the balloon. Helium balloons are the most popular item in the industry and when helium is in short supply, the industry suffers.

If you are planning a helium balloon party of ordering a helium balloon in celebration of a special event, place your order early. Helium balloons are in greater demand in the US than in the UK. Usually, sporting events are adorned with helium balloons to announce the start and end of an event.

Medical Industry Also Troubled

The lack of helium is not only posing problem for balloon sellers but is also impacting other aspects of our lives and our economy. The medical profession has come to rely heavily up helium. MRI testing is bound to become more expensive if helium production continues to slow.

In the US, Airgas is the main provider of helium. About 22 percent of manufactured helium is produced by one company, Airgas Supplies. Already US supplies are complaining about their failing production figures. Regular purchasers are only receiving about 99 percent of their orders. In some cases the supply is much less. The problem is that there appears no easing of the decreased supply in either the US or UK.

As helium is the second most abundant element in the universe, it is difficult to understand why there is a shortage. In a recent article in the Daily Mail, helium manufacturing facilities in Poland, Australia and Algeria are closed.

In Texas, where the biggest geological deposits of helium-rich gas environment exist, the closing of a helium pipeline caused a 30 percent loss of the entire global helium distribution. Until the pipeline is properly repaired, helium production will remain low. As can be expected, the lack of supply and the abundant demand for helium has caused significant increases in the cost of the gas. Here’s hoping the market is restored to order shortly.

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