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Fears of a shortfall in oil and gas production -- even as demand continues to rise -- were looming large since Hurricane Ida slammed the Gulf of Mexico a couple of weeks ago. The American Petroleum Institute (API) confirmed those fears with its weekly inventory report released on Sept. 14: Crude oil stocks declined by 5.4 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 10 compared with a forecast drop of 3.9 million barrels. API reported a drop of roughly 2.9 million barrels in the previous week. Just the other day, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) projected demand for oil to cross pre-pandemic levels in 2022. Fear has gripped the natural gas market even harder given supply disruptions during the peak inventory buildup season ahead of the winter months. Natural gas inventories in the U.S. came in 16.8% lower year over year in the week ended Sept. 9, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).