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A huge increase in the price of helium! Time for CCR?

Disturbing information is reaching us regarding the price and availability of helium. Problems with this gas, also used in technical diving, are nothing new. However, what happened to us before the weekend could delicately be called a very unpleasant “surprise”. An attempt to purchase a 50l, 200 BAR technical cylinder was unsuccessful due to a
Published: November 19, 2018 - 13:02
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 17:30
A huge increase in the price of helium! Time for CCR?

Disturbing information is reaching us regarding the price and availability of helium. Problems with this gas, also used in technical diving, are nothing new. However, what happened to us before the weekend could delicately be called a very unpleasant “surprise”.

An attempt to purchase a 50l, 200 BAR technical cylinder was unsuccessful due to a lack of stock in the wholesaler. However, what hit us the hardest was the information about the change in prices. Previously, the above-mentioned cylinder was purchased for 890 PLN, and today it costs… 1490 PLN!

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The situation with helium is a real giggle at the universe. This gas is the second most abundant element in the entire cosmos, after hydrogen. In all but the only planet known to us on which life forms have evolved that love technical diving. And talking in a funny voice. And balloons at fairs…

What is more, helium is a very specific gas also in the sense that global supplies are constantly decreasing, as it is not possible to recover it. Once used, helium flies irretrievably into the atmosphere, traverses it and disappears further into space.

Imagine that one helium molecule in the atmosphere occurs for every billion others. In water, on the other hand, the situation looks even worse, as one helium molecule appears here for every trillion others. The only place where helium can be stored in sufficient quantity to make this possible (i.e. profitable enough to do so) is in natural gas deposits.

And it so happens that our homeland is a world potentate in the production of helium. As early as the 1970s, a facility for purifying and liquefying helium was set up in Poland. It was the first place of its kind set up outside the USA. At present, it is owned by PGNiG SA, which is the only company producing helium in the European Union.

Unfortunately, everything is a question of profitability. The first worrying signs emerged in March this year, when Piotr Woźniak, President of PGNiG, commented on the helium situation.

[blockquote style=”2″]”Some of our fields are already operating at break-even. If an additional levy on helium gas extraction is introduced, production from some fields may have to be halted. The levy, which is planned to be introduced, is to be charged on production from gas fields with a minimum helium content of 0.1%.”[/blockquote]

Everything is changing. Change is inherent in the universe, its development and survival. So change also awaits diving. It is enough to compare the cost of gases for technical diving, over the last two decades. A cool analysis of these statistics leads to the conclusion that we are now on the verge of an era when open circuit is used for deep technical diving.

Source: parkiet.com, wysokienapiecie.pl

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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