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Harvey Threatens Natural Gas Supply


Amidst stories of Hurricane Harvey’s wanton destruction — homes flooded, residents displaced, 30 reported dead, countless others missing — it’s easy to forget that storms like this threaten not just the people of the Gulf Coast, but people all across the country who depend on the region’s industries.

Natural gas is one such industry, and although the long-term effects of the storm remain to be seen, the sector is already showing signs of distress.

“Natural gas prices gained on Monday as damage from Tropical Storm Harvey is seen halting production and pipeline operations,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Futures settled up 3.3 cents, or 1.1%, to $2.925 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast Friday evening as a Category 4 hurricane, but was downgraded to a tropical storm. The damage from the hurricane, along with subsequent raining and flooding, threatens to disrupt natural gas production in the Eagle Ford shale basin and Gulf of Mexico.”

The situation speaks to the inherent volatility of America’s natural gas supply. While it’s true that much of the country’s oil also comes from Texas, heating oil is stored independently by a network of thousands of small businesses, as well as by homeowners themselves. Natural gas, on the other hand, is not.

When natural gas production is threatened or halted by a major storm, the supply chain is interrupted and prices rise. When oil production is threatened, homeowners can rest assured that the fuel already sitting in their storage tanks is secure. Additionally, the Department of Energy maintains a one million barrel supply in the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, in case of extreme emergency.

Peace of mind and a secure supply: just two more benefits heating oil can offer, but natural gas cannot.

Click here to read the Wall Street Journal article.


33 Comments on "Harvey Threatens Natural Gas Supply"

  1. Kenz300 on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 11:25 am 

    It is important to diversify your energy supplies.

    Wind and solar need to be an important part of the energy mix.

    No fuel to bring in.

  2. Apneaman on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 12:21 pm 

    Houston flooding: two explosions at Texas chemical plant

    Sheriff taken to hospital after inhaling smoke at Arkema plant in Crosby that was flooded by waters from tropical storm Harvey

    “We believe that the safest thing to do is to allow the other eight containers to degrade and burn,” said Rich Rennard, an Arkema executive, at a press conference. “These things can burn very quickly and very violently and it would not be unusual for them to explode.”

  3. Tom on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 12:25 pm 


    Right, because a Category 4 hurricane would not have an impact on windmills & solar panels at all.

    that is too funny.

  4. Anonymouse1 on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 1:54 pm 

    I would suggest Kenzparrot diversify his extremely limited selection of bullshit one-liners and quips, but dont hold your breath…

  5. Dredd on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 2:04 pm 

    Amidst stories of Hurricane Harvey’s wanton destruction — homes flooded, residents displaced, 30 reported dead, countless others missing — it’s easy to forget that storms like this threaten not just the people of the Gulf Coast, but people all across the country who depend on the region’s industries.”

    Not to mention the rest of the world (Deadly Floods Ravage Other Parts Of The World)

  6. Cloggie on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 3:49 pm 

    Goldman-Sachs revises peak oil (demand) from 2040 back to 2024

    The oil sector will soon collapse. GS expects a German leadership-role in e-vehicles. The e-revolution will begin in earnest in Europe as of 2020, when affordable e-vehicles will be on offer.

    According to GS 50% of energy generation could be renewable.

  7. Cloggie on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 3:50 pm 

    According to GS 50% of energy generation could be renewable. …by 2030

  8. rockman on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 4:01 pm 

    OK: with respect to just NG. Those concerns appear to be bullsh*t for the most part. As far as the flooding shutting in wells an insignificant amount of NG is produced in the Houston area. I did shut in 2 wells in Matagorda Co where Harvey blew thrust just because the make condensate and I filled tanks with water so they wouldn’t float away if the area flooded. Had they been producing just NG I would have not.

    Yes: all offshore DRILLING RIGS were evacuated…not all procuction platforms. And many platforms producing only NG and no oil are unmanned. But bottom line: an undamaged offshore platform producing oil only takes a couple of days to bring back on. And one producing only NG: less then a day once the hands get back.

    The biggest long term threat to NG production would be onshore pipelines washed away by swollen rivers. Have seen no reports of any such concerns.

    Refinery shut downs/damage, product transport lines and oil pipelines are a very different dynamic. But none of that involves NG production or delivery. Which is one specific aspect this article tries to hype.

    So NG future prices jumped 1% to 3%: the horror, the horror! LOL. Let’s see how FUTURES are running in a few days.

  9. Apneaman on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 4:01 pm 

    clog, so now that it helps lend weight to your renewable fantasy the big Jew bank is the most trustworthy source ever to exist?

    How convenient jew lover.

  10. TommyWantsHisMommy on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 4:05 pm 

    I would imagine a wind farm in the gom would handle a hurricane?

  11. rockman on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 4:05 pm 

    “According to GS 50% of energy generation could be renewable. ” And based on reality the public is not pushing their consumption anywhere close to that level. Once again the market place trumps theory. LOL.

  12. JuanP on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 4:06 pm 

    Meet Category 3 Hurricane Irma. Headed for the USA?

  13. Apneaman on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 4:26 pm 

    Jaun, this piece, with groovy graphs, was from Aug 4th

    The U.S. coast is in an unprecedented hurricane drought — why this is terrifying
    By Jason Samenow August 4, 2016

    “Hurricanes, large and small, have eluded U.S. shores for record lengths of time. As population and wealth along parts of the U.S. coast have exploded since the last stormy period, experts dread the potential damage and harm once the drought ends.

    Three historically unprecedented droughts in landfalling U.S. hurricanes are presently active.

    A major hurricane hasn’t hit the U.S. Gulf or East Coast in more than a decade.”

    It appears the drought has ended.

    Duck and cover or get out of the way if Irma comes your way.

  14. Boat on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 5:11 pm 

    rockman on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 4:05 pm

    “According to GS 50% of energy generation could be renewable. ” And based on reality the public is not pushing their consumption anywhere close to that level. Once again the market place trumps theory. LOL.

    If you add renewables to nuclear the total percentage of electricity is up to 18.5 percent and growing over 1 percent per yr.
    For some of us we can extrapolate that trend to 30 percent in 10 years.
    Electric cars on the other hand are where renewables were 5-10 years ago, promising future but to early to predict the scale of growth. Many tech improvements will have to be realized and billions invested for infrastructure.

  15. JuanP on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 5:22 pm 

    Ap, Here, in Miami, we haven’t had a major hurricane since Andrew in 1992. From a statistical point of view we are more than a decade overdue. The population in the tricounty Southeast Metropolitan area comprising Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties has exploded since then. Andrew hit in Homestead which back then was mostly a rural area. If a hurricane like Andrew landed today 30 miles North of where Andrew hit the economic loss would be unimaginable, from 10 to 100 times larger than the damage back then. Maybe a trillion US Dollars? That would be enough to bankrupt the cities, counties, state, national insurance industry, and, maybe, even the USA. I can’t believe that we are so stupid that we are still wasting billions building infrastructure down here. Most people here have no inkling of the risk. Most of the people living here today were too young, hadn’t been born, or were living elsewhere when Andrew hit. This is like playing Russian Roulette!

  16. Makati1 on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 6:47 pm 

    For those who are interested: A map of the 50 hurricanes to hit the US since 1985.

    “The season hurricane strike activity is fairly symmetric with 48 percent of the strikes occurring in June, July,and August and 52 percent of the strikes occurring in September, October and November. There was one strike in both June and November, and eight strikes in both July and October.”

  17. Davy on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 8:33 pm 

    “Irma Turning Into Monster Hurricane: “Highest Windspeed Forecasts I’ve Ever Seen”

    “Hurricane Irma continues to strengthen much faster than pretty much any computer model predicted as of yesterday or even this morning. Per the National Hurricane Center’s (NHC) latest update, Irma is currently a Cat-3 storm with sustained winds of 115 mph but is expected to strengthen to a devastating Cat-5 with winds that could top out at 180 mph or more.”

    “Longer term computer models still vary widely but suggest that Irma will make landfall in the U.S. either in the Gulf of Mexico or Florida. Meteorological Scientist Michael Ventrice of the Weather Channel is forecasting windspeeds of up to 180 mph, which he described as the “highest windspeed forecasts I’ve ever seen in my 10 yrs of Atlantic hurricane forecasting.”

    “Meanwhile, the Weather Channel has the “most likely” path of Irma passing directly over Antigua, Puerto Rico and Domincan Republic toward the middle of next week.”

  18. rockman on Thu, 31st Aug 2017 8:37 pm 

    “If you add renewables to nuclear the total percentage of electricity is up to 18.5 percent and growing over 1 percent per yr.” Nuclear plant construct peaked in 1975 and declined until the recent peak of 15 in 2010. Since then it declined to the latest stat: 2 in 2014. Which explains why global nuclear capacity peaked in 2006. In the last 4 years the trend has shown a slow increase but still below the 2006 level. So depending on how you cherry pick the data nuclear is projecting a slight long term decrease or a slight short term increase.

    Either way using nuclear power (which sprung to life for economic and not environmental reasons) seems a poor choice to hang ones renewable energy hat. In fact, if memory serves, the most vocal opponents of nuclear decades ago were the greenies. Many today still aren’t supportive of nuclear power today.

    As far as motor vehicles the increase in the number of ICE’s built y-o-y since EV’s came on the market has greatly exceeded the number of alt vehicles. IOW in absolute numbers more new ICE’s are being sold then
    new EV’s being sold every year. Not a trend to be happy about: ICE’s are easily winning the race against EV’s. Might want to contain enthusiasm until more new EV’s are sold then new ICE’s in a year. Until then EV’s are showing a losing trend to ICE’s.

  19. Davy on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 3:57 am 

    “Scientist Confirms: Harvey Caused A “1-In-1,000-Year Flood”

    “There is nothing in the historical record that rivals this, according to Shane Hubbard, the Wisconsin researcher who made and mapped this calculation. “In looking at many of these events [in the United States], I’ve never seen anything of this magnitude or size,” he said. “This is something that hasn’t happened in our modern era of observations.”

    “Of course, one reason for this might be that the modern urban environment is covered in concrete and asphalt, which makes it impossible for floodwater to absorb into the ground, exacerbating the disaster.”

    “At least 20 inches of rain fell over an area (nearly 29,000 square miles) larger than 10 states, including West Virginia and Maryland (by a factor of more than two). At least 30 inches of rain fell over an area (more than 11,000 square miles) equivalent to Maryland’s size. To that, we’d like to add the nearly 52 inches of rain recorded by the National Weather Service in Cedar Bayou, Texas, which broke the continental U.S. record.”

  20. Davy on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 4:06 am 

    Coastal Watches/Warnings and Forecast Cone for Storm Center

    Hurricane Irma Discussion Number, NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL, 500 AM AST Fri Sep 01 2017

    “Thereafter, Irma is expected to move into a more favorable
    thermodynamic environment while remaining in low wind shear
    conditions, which should allow the hurricane to intensify. It
    should be noted that major hurricanes like Irma often undergo
    eyewall replacements that can cause fluctuations in strength, but
    unfortunately these internal dynamics can not be forecast with any
    accuracy. The NHC intensity forecast is identical to the previous
    one and lies near the high end of the model guidance.”

    “Irma is moving west-northwestward at 10 kt to the south of a
    subtropical high pressure system. This high is forecast to
    strengthen and build westward during the next few days, which
    should cause the hurricane to turn to the west in about 24 hours and
    then move to the west-southwest over the weekend. By the end of the
    forecast period, Irma is expected to move on the south side of the
    high, which should cause the storm to turn back to the west or
    west-northwest. Although the models agree on this overall scenario,
    they differ slightly on the strength and orientation of the high and
    the intensity of Irma. These differences have caused a fair amount
    of north-south spread. The NHC intensity forecast lies near the
    middle of the guidance envelope through day 4, but leans toward the
    southern end at day 5, in favor of the ECMWF and HCCA models.”

  21. Davy on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 4:33 am 

    “Harvey’s Made the World’s Most Important Chemical a Rare Commodity”

    “As it turns out, this colorless, flammable gas is arguably the most important petrochemical on the planet — and much of it comes from the hurricane-stricken Gulf Coast. Ethylene is one of the big reasons the damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey in the chemical communities along the Gulf is likely to ripple through U.S. manufacturing of essential items from milk jugs to mattresses.”

    “Ethylene really is the major petrochemical that impacts the entire industry,” said Chirag Kothari, an analyst at consultant Nexant. Texas alone produces nearly three quarters of the country’s supply of one of the most basic chemical building blocks. Ethylene is the foundation for making plastics essential to U.S. consumer and industrial goods, feeding into car parts used by Detroit and diapers sold by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. With Harvey’s floods shutting down almost all the state’s plants, 61 percent of U.S. ethylene capacity has been closed, according to PetroChemWire. Ethylene occurs naturally — it’s the gas given off by fruit as it ripens. But it also lies at the heart of the $3.5 trillion global chemical industry, with factories pumping out 146 million tons last year, Kothari said Thursday.”

    “Processing plants turn the chemical into polyethylene, the world’s most common plastic that’s used in garbage bags and food packaging. When transformed into ethylene glycol, it’s the antifreeze that keeps engines and airplane wings from freezing in winter, and it also becomes the polyester used in textiles and water bottles. Ethylene is an ingredient in vinyl products such as PVC pipes used to bring water to homes, life-saving medical devices and cushy sneaker soles. It helps combat global warming with polystyrene foam insulation and lighter, fuel-saving plastic auto parts. It helps commuters get to work safely when made into synthetic rubber found in tires. It’s even an ingredient in house paints and chewing gum.”

    “The combination of Harvey’s path, duration and rainfall total is wreaking havoc with the supply side of the U.S. chemicals industry on an unprecedented scale,” said Kevin McCarthy, an equity analyst at Vertical Research Partners. “We certainly haven’t seen anything quite like it in our 18 years of following chemical stocks on Wall Street.” The sudden dearth of ethylene and other materials is being felt up and down the supply chain. More than half of the country’s capacity for making polyethylene plastic has been shut down in the past week. More than 60 percent of production of polypropylene — another plastic, has been curtailed.”

  22. Davy on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 4:41 am 

    “Love of Coastal Living Is Draining U.S. Disaster Funds”

    “The homes on Dauphin Island are among the 5 million that are covered by the National Flood Insurance Program. Founded in 1968 to make sure homeowners in flood-prone areas could get affordable insurance, the program ends up paying most residential flood insurance claims in the U.S. Partly as a result, development along coasts and riverbanks and in flood plains has exploded over the past 50 years. So have claims for flood damages. The NFIP is now about $25 billion in debt.”

    “On Sept. 30, the program is also set to expire. Some members of Congress would like to use a reauthorization vote to enact reforms, including perhaps kicking the most flood-exposed homes off the rolls. Given the pressure to deliver disaster relief quickly post-Harvey, it’s improbable that any initial agreement to extend the NFIP past Sept. 30 will lead to significant reforms. More likely, a short-term extension may fund it through the end of the year. But the problem won’t go away. And the debate is just getting started.”

    “The issues surrounding the NFIP go beyond just insurance and straight to the costs of climate change—specifically, whether the government will concede that the most vulnerable places simply can’t be protected. While hurricanes contribute greatly to costs, putting a sudden spotlight on the insurance issue, it’s the chronic flooding that happens away from the public eye, in places such as Dauphin Island, that slowly drains the NFIP. The island has one of the country’s highest concentrations of houses that the Federal Emergency Management Agency calls “severe repetitive loss”—those that flood most often. The owners of those 84 properties have gotten almost $17 million since 1978, an average of $199,244 each.”

    “Explosive costs have a way of changing people’s minds. The U.S. spent more than $350 billion over the past decade responding to natural disasters, yet FEMA budgeted only $90 million this year to prepare communities for those catastrophes. “These storms are breaking the back of FEMA,” says Roberta Swann, director of the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program. “If FEMA starts to say, ‘If a hurricane comes and takes your house, we’re done’—that is going to change the face of coastal communities.”

  23. Davy on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 4:53 am 

    “Hurricane Harvey Is A Disaster For OPEC”

    “Goldman says the refinery shut downs, as of August 30, have spiked to 3.9 million barrels per day (mb/d), although upstream oil production outages have dropped below 1 mb/d. More ports are now closed – in addition to Corpus Christi and Houston, the ports of Lake Charles, Beaumont, and Port Arthur have shut down. These outages, the investment bank says, will mean that the “ongoing recovery in production will only be partial.” The refinery and pipeline closures are “leaving the oil market long 1.9 mb/d of crude vs. last Thursday, short 1.1 mb/d for gasoline and 0.8 mb/d for distillate.”

    “More worrying is that the recovery might not be quick. While most refineries had controlled shut downs, there are quite a few, especially in the Port Arthur region, that have been inundated with water, which means that the damage to them is still unknown. Based on the past major hurricanes of Rita and Katrina, Goldman speculates that about 10 percent of the 4 mb/d of refining capacity that has been disrupted will remain offline for several months. Other analysts agree that the damage could result in lengthier outages than many had hoped. “I’m actually quite concerned about Beaumont-Port Arthur because they just got a huge amount of rain in 24 hours, and we’ve already seen flooding within the refineries themselves, so we don’t know exactly how bad it’s going to be,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, told CNBC. “If it is bad, you’re looking at six to eight weeks of outages over in Beaumont-Port Arthur.”

    “Ultimately, that could mean that upstream oil producers will be unable to return to full production. Damage to pipelines, storage and processing facilities will also inhibit a full recovery. “It will be a while before operations can return to normal and the U.S. refining industry is bracing itself for an extended shutdown,” Stephen Brennock of PVM wrote in a research note. The prospect of lasting damage to the energy industry is sinking in. “Back to normal is months, not weeks, for exports and for the industry and the region. We have to acknowledge that,” Barclays analyst Michael Cohen wrote. While much of the focus is (rightly) centered on the effect on gasoline supply, the refinery outages could eat into crude oil demand for quite some time. In fact, on balance, Goldman says that the supply outages could be outweighed by the destruction of demand. Houston alone accounts for around 750,000 bpd of oil demand. Goldman Sachs estimates the region will see demand fall by about 0.7 mb/d in the first month after the storm.”

  24. rockman on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 9:32 am 

    Davy – Consider just the big Exxon refinery in Baytown across the road from me. My neighbor who works there said 2 weeks before the can start processing again. That’s a loss of 8.4 million bbls of product from the market place from just that one plant. Assuming about a 25% gasoline yield that’s about a 90 million gallon short of just gasoline. And the nearby Shell plant will take 4 weeks to bring back on line.

    As I just mention elsewhere gasoline is becoming difficult to find in Houston. Can’t tell if it’s a supply or deliver problem yet.

  25. rockman on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 11:02 am 

    Davy – Looks like the gasoline problem may get very bad very quickly. My wife just ran by 4 stations in our unflooded portion of eastern Harris Co: already 3 were empty. And we live in the middle of refinery hub. And Bucee’s, a big supplier of fuel on Texas highways, just announced Austin station is empty and all other stations in Texas or either very low or empty.

  26. GregT on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 11:36 am 


    Could be a distribution problem? Gasoline prices in Vancouver still remain at 450% of prices back in ’99, and still 13 cents shy of historical all time prices reached in ’09. No gasoline problem in Vancouver…….

  27. Davy on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 12:04 pm 

    Hang, in there Rock. We are always talking localization here. You can give us a first hand view of it.

  28. GregT on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 12:17 pm 

    Actually Davy,

    The article is about the national knock on effects of industries due to Harvey in the Gulf region, and more specifically natural gas. So no, we are not always talking about localization here, as you so incorrectly pointed out.

  29. Davy on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 12:18 pm 

    I was talking to rock not you butt wipe

  30. GregT on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 12:21 pm 

    This is an open discussion forum Davy. You are talking to everyone that reads your comments. Oh battle hardened internet warrior.

  31. GregT on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 12:24 pm 

    If you prefer to have a private discussion with Rockman, you can always PM him.

  32. Davy on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 1:05 pm 

    grehg, your so cute when you act tough.

  33. GregT on Fri, 1st Sep 2017 2:00 pm 

    Thanks for the compliment Davy, but I prefer women.

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