Natural Gas Futures have been muted by the following factors due to Hurricane Isaac:
- Isaac had a hard time organizing, and it was upgraded to a CAT1 hurricane shortly before it made landfall.
- The last storm that disrupted natural gas and oil operations in the Gulf was Gustav (in 2008), and producers have made improvements to their facilities to better withstand severe weather conditions since then.
- Government data shows that 72% of U.S. Gulf natural gas output, or 3.2 billion cubic feet per day, was shut in as of Wednesday Aug 29. 2012.
- Gulf producers have reported little to no damage.
- Cumulative production loss of natural gas is under 17 Bcf since Monday Aug 25, 2012.
- Facilities are expected to be brought back on line quickly after inspections in coming days, if no damage is discovered.
- Inventory surplus is 14.6% higher compared to last year and 12.0% higher compared to the 5-year average for the same week.
- As Isaac makes its way inland, cooler temperatures and power outages resulting from the storm will offset much of the impact of the temporary supply loss.
In short, there is enough supply of natural gas to offset the disruption from Isaac. The chart below shows the price action for the September 2012 contract that took place since 8/20/12. The market discounted the effect of Isaac on supply since Thursday 8/23/12, and a modest rally driven more by technical indicators has taken place since yesterday August 29, 2012.
*Graph from NYMEX