BLM: Three Steps To Federal Helium Reserve Privitisation, Says Sam Burton

The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continues to work towards the privitisation of the Federal Helium Reserve and is following three key steps to a smooth transfer to private administry, according to Sam Burton, Field Manager for the BLM’s Federal Helium Programme. Burton was talking at gasworld’s Helium Summit 2018 in Houston, Texas, where he gave an insight into the steps taken by the BLM to close and transfer operations of the Federal Helium Programme to private operations.This includes the sale of all real property and interest of the US Government, he explained. Burton discussed future operations and said the Helium Stewardship Act is the “line in the sand” requiring the Federal Government to dispose of the Federal Helium System by 30th September (2021). The BLM intends to transfer responsibility to deliver previously purchased helium to the buyer(s) as a condition of sale. “We don’t know yet exactly how the GSA (General Services Administration) will be disposing of these assets, but they have a clear duty to assist the BLM in disposing of these assets.” The Helium Royalty mission and the Helium Fund will continue to beyond 30th September (2021), Burton said, adding that the BLM’s responsibilities concerning utilisation of excess property essentially spanned the following three steps:

  • Survey real property under its control, at least annually, to identify property that is not utilised, under-utilised or not being put to optimum use
  • Maintain its inventory of real property at the absolute minimum consistent with economical and efficient conduct of the affairs of the agency
  • Promptly report to the GSA all excess property.

“These are the three steps the BLM is working on to ensure that this is a smooth transfer to private administry,” he said.

Assets to be sold

Burton also explained to the more than 300-strong audience of key stakeholders in the global helium business the Federal Helium Assets to be sold, and where the BLM is at in the ongoing privitisation process. The assets to be sold are:

  • Mineral rights to Bush Dome Reservoir
  • Cliffside Plant Facility, Gas Wells and Pipelines
  • Central Compression
  • Natural Gas Chiller Skid & NGL Storage
  • Crude Helium Pipeline, Meters and Cathodic Protection
  • Satanta Maintenance Station.

“The GSA is assisting the BLM with their due diligence such as title work,” Burton explained. “The BLM is preparing the SF-118 for submission and the GSA is compiling a list of interested buyers. The target date for reporting the property excess is 1st October (2020).” “In closing, we know that the BLM will be stepping out of this process in three years. We will be working diligently to get our compressor online and we will very, very much look forward to completing the requirements of the Helium Stewardship Act.”

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