Hurricane Gustav helped boost oil prices today by more than $1 a barrel as energy companies shut down production facilities in the storm's path, reports Reuters. US crude rose $1.54 to $117 per barrel this morning, after briefly surging to over $118 when NYMEX opened for electronic trading hours earlier than usual.
"The biggest danger is that the tidal flows knock refineries out of action at a time when oil product inventories are at a minimum," a London analyst told Bloomberg. More than 96% of American oil production in the Gulf and 82% of natural gas output were shut down by yesterday afternoon. The Gulf normally provides a quarter of all US oil production.