Tropical storm and hurricane activity have increased as we near the peak of the season with Grace, Henri, and Ida all making themselves felt in various ways. Most recently, Hurricane Ida made landfall in southern Louisiana as a Category 4 storm, causing destruction and knocking out power throughout the region. Ida continued its disruptive path, triggering flooding and tornados across a half dozen states up through the Northeast.
Gas and oil companies evacuated offshore rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of Ida’s arrival, idling capacity and halting extraction from major fields and crimping output in recent weeks. National natural gas rig counts have stalled at around 100 since May. With only three months left in the traditional stock-building season, concerns are mounting that national stocks will be relatively low heading into the fall heating season. This leaves the nation rather vulnerable in the case of a harsher winter or polar vortex activity further supporting heating demand.