The current global market is thought to be worth US$6 billion, with the price of bulk liquid helium rising by >100% in the past ten years.
The USA is the world’s leading helium supplier with approximately 60% share of global supply in 2015, followed by Qatar with 24% (USGS). Algeria, Australia, Canada, Poland and Russia are also producing nations.
Helium Markets have been quite volatile in recent years with 3 years of global shortage during the period 2011-2013, followed by 2 years of oversupply caused by the start of production from the Qatar II plant in 2014-2015. The global helium market is appears to be finding equilibrium in 2016.
The largest reserve of crude helium is owned and managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In 2013 it announced that it would begin to auction off an increasing percentage of the reserve annually until it declined to 3.0 billion cubic feet (estimated to occur in 2022), and would only then supply U.S. government users. This will remove a very significant portion of existing capacity from the market.