Q:

What countries produce helium?

A:

The vast majority of helium comes from the United States, Algeria, Russia, Qatar and Poland. The United States is by far the world's largest producer of helium, accounting for more than 75 percent of the world’s supply. New purification and extraction plants are popping up throughout the world to efficiently produce helium; however, many countries still rely on the United States to meet their booming supplies.

Helium is a nonrenewable resource that provides a number of industrial, military and medical applications. Moreover, helium serves as a coolant in magnetic resonance imaging machines and serves as a protector to preserve historical documents and arc welders. Helium’s most popular use is in balloons at celebrations and parties.

Helium is the second most abundant resource in the universe, but on Earth, the supply of helium is limited. Approximately 30 percent of the world’s helium supply comes from the United States’ Federal Helium Reserve. This reserve is a sprawling natural underground reservoir in Texas that is connected to a pipeline that links helium to nearby refining facilities.

Helium is produced from natural gas. The United States produces roughly 2 billion cubic feet of helium per year. This may seem like a lot, but a large portion of this helium leaks into the atmosphere.


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