There was no calm before the storm on Thursday as the futuresmarket experienced another day of volatile, choppy trading astraders turned to televisions in trading rooms across the countryfor the direction and strike probabilities of Hurricane Georges.The October contract bounced back and forth throughout the tradingsession as the market digested the imminence of supply shut ins.That prompted the spot month to move 4.8 cents higher yesterday,settling at $2.179.

“I hope producers are getting their helicopter frequent flyermiles this month,” joked a Houston marketer. “Georges could nothave picked a more inopportune time to strike. We are coming into aweekend, it is the end of an extremely active month of storms, andwe have options and futures expirations [Friday] and Monday. We arecurrently in a trading range bounded by $2.08 and $2.35, but thismarket is 100% storm related and that means October could settle at$2.00 or $2.60 depending on just how severe the shut ins become.”

Another trader agreed, adding the big question to be answeredtoday will be just how much strengthening Georges can muster as itpasses over the straits of Florida and into warm Gulf waters. “Rigoperators liability insurance mandates massive evacuations forstorms with winds above 100 MPH. I wouldn’t be surprised to seethem start pulling people off and shutting things down as early as[Thursday] night.”

A New Jersey trader took a step back from the storm to point toanother factor to be throw into the mix this afternoon. Thebi-weekly CFTC Commitment of Traders report will be released aftertrading on Friday. “Depending how long or short that report findsthe market, we could be in for some added volatility Monday.”

As of 7 p.m. last night the October contract was up 6.1 cents to$2.24.

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