- located at 13301 Brickplant Road approximately 12 miles northwest of Amarillo in Potter County, Texas
- More than 38,000 acres of mineral rights
- 23 producing wells
- 450 miles of pipeline that distributes helium from Texas to Kansas
- An improved 10 acre parcel of land near Satanta, KS
Federal Helium System currently supplies over 40 percent of domestic demand for helium by supplying crude helium to private helium refining companies, which in turn refine the helium and market it to consumers.
Helium is a colorless and odorless inert gas. It will not burn or react with other elements. Helium is a non-renewable natural resource that is most commonly recovered from natural gas deposits. Perhaps the most familiar use of helium is as a safe, non-flammable gas to fill party and parade balloons. In addition, helium is a critical component in many fields, including scientific research, medical technology, high-tech manufacturing (i.e. computer chips), space exploration, and national defense. Helium is used in MRI machines, specialized welding, leak detection, fiber optics/semiconductor manufacturing, low-temperature research, missiles, and observation balloons.
Cliffside Gas Plant – the Plant consists of two parcels totaling 8.108 acres of leased land (surface only) and federally owned building improvements that house the plant equipment associated with operating the helium enrichment process. The property is located at 13301 Brickplant Road approximately 12 miles northwest of Amarillo in Potter County, Texas.
The improvements consist of 10 primary buildings of varying uses (office, warehouse, maintenance, shop, storage, equipment, and laboratory) ranging in size from over 1,000 square feet to under 5,000 square feet; over 20 smaller support buildings; and related site improvements (utilities, fencing, lighting, roads, parking lots, etc.). The buildings are mostly portable type or permanent metal construction built in the 1960’s and early 2000’s, although the Headquarters Building is of masonry construction.
Federally Owned Plant Equipment – The Plant houses the plant equipment required to operate the helium enrichment process, which includes both federally owned and privately owned plant equipment that is integral to the process. The primary federally owned plant equipment consists of the booster compressor, natural gas chiller skid, metering equipment, spare parts, emergency generators, various storage tanks (fuel, air, water, NGL, etc.) and other equipment supporting the helium enrichment process.
Some of the plant equipment housed at the Cliffside Gas Plant is privately owned. While the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for the operation and minor maintenance of the Crude Helium Enrichment Unit (CHEU), the CHEU is owned by the Cliffside Refiners Limited Partnership (CRLP). The CRLP is composed of four companies: Air Products, L.P.; Praxair, Inc.; Messer, LLC; and Kinder-Morgan. BLM has a lease agreement with CRLP for the privately owned equipment.
Mineral Rights – From 1930 to 1942, the federal government acquired through purchase and condemnation more than 38,000 acres of gas interest (subsurface ownership).
Helium Storage Reservoir - The Cliffside Field includes the Bush Dome, a natural geologic formation of porous rock approximately 3,000 feet below the surface with two layers of calcium anhydrite covering the porous rock and acting as a lid to contain gas. The surface area of the Bush Dome encompasses approximately 12,000 acres.
The federally owned helium in the storage reservoir includes both federal helium that was injected into the reservoir for storage and the native helium commingled with the existing natural gas when the United States purchased the field. In addition, there is privately owned helium presently stored in the reservoir and pipeline.
Natural Gas Wells – The property includes 23 gas producing wells that were developed in the 1960’s and 1970’s. In addition to the well heads, the well equipment includes piping to the metering building and other related equipment.
Federal Helium Pipeline – The pipeline works in conjunction with privately owned refineries and BLM for the production, refinement, transmission, and storage of helium. The pipeline connects the Cliffside Field to private helium refiners spread throughout Northern Texas, the Oklahoma panhandle, and Southern Kansas. The federally owned portion of the pipeline stretches 423.24 miles. The Pipeline was installed in 1962. There are multiple privately owned spurs connected to the federally owned pipeline that serve private refineries. Both crude plants and refineries are connected to the pipeline. Crude plants (also called captured plants) only inject into the pipeline for delivery to a nearby refinery (usually associated with each other). Refineries can take from the pipeline and refine the crude helium into pure or grade A+ helium.
The pipeline easements were acquired through purchase and condemnation in 1962 to provide for a minimum 50- to 60-foot-wide right-of-way to accommodate the pipeline.
An interactive map showing the locations of the easements is available.
Satanta Maintenance Station – The maintenance station is located at 2089 Road HH at its intersection with U.S. Highway 56 approximately 1.5 miles northeast of Satanta, Kansas. The property consists of 10.62 acres of fee interest land improved with three buildings (office, garage/shop, and storage containing a total of 3,800 square feet), storm shelter, and site improvements (fencing, lighting, roads, and utilities). The buildings are of metal and masonry construction built in the 1960’s. This property serves as the maintenance station for the Federal Helium Pipeline, which passes through the site.
Additional information about the Federal Helium Program and the Federal Helium System can be found on BLM'S website.
Virtual Building Tours
The Data Room provides access to key due diligence information to help bidders prepare for the sale.
The location of pipelines and easements can be found in this interactive map.
- Virtual Open House – June 10, 2022
- Bidder qualification period – July 2022
- Public sale – August 2022
- Property conveyance – September 2022
Invitation for Bid
The Invitation for Bid (IFB) provides the property description; terms of sale; instructions to bidders; notices and covenants; and bidder registration and bid form.
The sale type is TBD and the pertinent information will be posted soon.
- The sale process allows for interested parties to bid on and potentially acquire the property in a transparent, expedited process.
- Interested parties are encouraged to review the Invitation for Bids (IFB) and tour the property.
- Bidders are required to post a bid deposit (refundable if not awarded the property). The bid deposit and the minimum bid for the property are TBD.
- The property is being sold AS-IS, WHERE-IS. GSA has provided numerous due diligence documents on the property for review by potential bidders. The documents can be viewed in the Key Documents section.
Where to Bid
- The specific details concerning where to place bids are TBD.