Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Storm in Gulf has Natural Gas Prices Up

Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Oil and natural gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico will evacuate ``several thousand'' employees from offshore rigs today on concerns about Tropical Storm Gustav, according to Louisiana's Port Fourchon.

There are almost 20,000 workers on offshore platforms, about one-quarter of which are needed to maintain production, said Ted Falgout, the port's director. Gulf platforms contribute more than a fifth of U.S. oil production.

``Most companies are waiting until Friday to decide whether they need to shut down production,'' Falgout said in an interview. ``If you look at models showing the storm's track, it should scare you.''

Gustav may become the strongest storm to reach the Gulf since 2005, when hurricanes Katrina and Rita shut refineries and platforms, said on its Web site. Gustav is packing winds of 60 miles (97 kilometers) per hour, the National Hurricane Center said.

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