Your local gas generation partner


Qatar has ceased helium production

Qatar, the world's second largest helium producer, has been forced to close it's helium production plants after Saudi Arabia closed its border with Qatar, blocking overland exports of the gas.

Map of Qatar where helium production has recently stopped due to a blockade

The Qatar helium market has come to a standstill,  no small thing considering that the Qatar Helium 2 project is the world's largest helium refining facility, able to produce 1.3 billion cubic feet of helium a year and, until now, positioning Qatar as the second-largest helium producer in the world. The instant 25% reduction in production of the finite gas will affect supplies globally - prices have started to rise again (prices in places like North America had already been rising rapidly without the added backdrop of a helium shortage, with January 2017 bringing a price rise from Praxair of 15%)  and some gas suppliers have already started making preparations to cease the supply of 'uneccessary' helium, i.e. for balloons. Helium is widely used accross many industries and is currently used as a coolent in both MRI scanners and satellite instruments. 

Another popular use for helium is to supply laboratory instruments such as Gas Chromatographs. These instruments are used for analyzing compounds in a wide variety of fields from Medicine and Pharmacy, to Food and Electronics. The good news for those using helium for Gas Chromatography (GC)  is that they can switch from using helium gas to using hydrogen gas. In fact, hydrogen has been proven to produce faster results for GC and it is not a finite resource affected by dwindling and unreliable supplies and rising prices. Hydrogen generators make it possible to have your own in-house supply of gas which never runs out, completely removing the worry of securing an adequate gas supply.

Switching from helium to hydrogen is easy, you can read our step-by-step guide on doing just that here.

Hydrogen gas generator solution to helium crisis for labs

Precision Series Gas Generators for GC

If you use Helium for your GC analysis, there has never been a better time to switch to hydrogen. With a quarter of the world's supply unavailable while Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar, creating great unease in the global helium market, helium supply has never been more unstable. 

To get peace of mind for your GC    

Qatar Blockade - It's time to switch to hydrogen

An unrealiable supply and possible helium shortage isn't the only reason to ditch helium cylinders in favour of a hydrogen or nitrogen gas generator, cylinders contain large quantities of gas at high pressure and therefore present a potential health and safety problem. Not only must the cylinders, which are fairly heavy, be periodically moved, but an accident can release a large volume of gas into the lab environment, which could prove fatal. Changing cylinders can also allow air and impurities into the analytical instrument, and new cylinders must be monitored, ordered and swapped out, taking up valuable time of lab personnel. The other potential problem with cylinders is inconsistency in purity from cylinder to cylinder. Impurities collect at the bottom of the cylinder meaning that the last 10% of the gas is not of as good a quality and is not recommended for use. In addition to these factors, there is the transportation of cylinders which are usually transported by road and therefore add to street congestion and pollution.

All of these problems can be solved with a gas generator, a safe and convenient way of providing a constant and consistent supply of gas for lab applications, without risking the safety of lab users.

Finally, it is worth noting that whilst Qatar has the option of resuming helium production, it is likely that sea routes will be blockaded if the sanctions against Qatar remain in place. With alternative routes out of the region being much less reliable and more costly it is easy to assume that, even if production starts up again, helium prices will likely still rise and supply may not always be able to meet demand.

Found this article useful? You might also like:

GC research shows benefits of hydrogen over helium

Streamline your GC analysis with Precision

Helium cost concerns

Gas cylinder prices on the rise

Post a comment

Please enter the code as shown:


No Comments


USA Missouri Scotland China Sample Preparation Nitrogen GC Precision HPLC Geneva Peak Scientific Toxicology Zero Air Hydrogen Africa Sweden Malmo Japan Austria Mass Spectrometer Medical Birmingham Dr Ed Connor Helium Gas Chromatography gas agilent generator celebrate gas agilent tardis peak Beijing Nitrogen Hydrogen ebf gas generation #dustyontour lab gas nitrogen hydrogen #dustyontour Melbourne laboratory Peak logo Matterhorn LC-MS gas generator analysis laboratory gas generator modified atmosphere packaging laser cutting electronic component assembly India Exhibition lab South Africa bottling sparging flushing storing wine lab gas SACI Christmas 12 days Rudolph christmas xmas new periodic elements song music universe generation pancake science Australia Proteomics show valentines love Price increase bulk gas Agilent Academia Mass Spectrometry Sciex sciex tour Award Gas Generator Innovation Queen's Award on-site adsorption PSA safety cylinders on-site nitrogen generation CMS Analytica Germany gas generators exhibitions Munich Genius 3010 Ant Teknik Eurasia Istanbul Turkey Hydrogen trace nitrogen trace careers football GC-MS food quality Genius Shimadzu 3051 Kemiportalen pairing search find Sweat diffusion through snow GC analysis Gas chromatography capillary column cylinder AZOM MRX labs gas chromatography wine cork no-taint Amorim NDtech jobs cancer dogs Infinity showcase product Nihonium Moscovium Tennessine Oganesson The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry Carrier Gas Tomatoes La Tomatina Chromatography today gas cylinder BioTechniques User Manuals Stoller Biomarker Discovery Centre MS table Mass Spec Thermal Desorption Sampling Corona CAD Detector JASIS Dusty Singapore training Solaris china precision nm32la (MSACL) conference service Protected proteomics peak protected NMR spectroscopy Tianjin Ionization Mass Spectrometry Conference AIMS 2016 high-purity gas After-sales maintenance seminar Genius series LCMs Genius Nitrogen Generator Precision Hydrogen Generator maintenance ELSD Micro Mass Spec zero air i-FlowLab whole of lab register flexflow elsd solaris mass spec high-performance liquid chromatography N2 Solaris Nitrogen Northern Flicker bird Tartarian Morrow's Honeysuckle APS Proteomics Lorne exhibition FlexFlow helium Valentine's Day mass spectrometry hydrogen generator nitrogen generator chromatography customer service expertise warranty hplc Europe food gc lcms gc-ms China-lab GCMS zeroair iflow Peak SCientific TOC LC-MS Chromatography Gas generators asms launch reviews NM32LA genius selectscience asia oil & gas n2 oxygen ICP-MS collision Qatar Select Science Complete Protected generators event university singapore Cylinders switch design technology Scientific show after service support engineer OEM chromatographie Values brand promise protected CPL-SM Thermo Scientific Aerosol detector Cannabis Quality Control Testing LCMS SM-PCI hydrogène gaz de collision Garantie générateur de gaz Gasgenerator Nitroge iflow lab Careers Recruitment Sample Evaporation ICP CO2 Analyzer FT-IR TOC hygrogen carrier gas i-flowlab azote LC_MS
To Top