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Daily Telegraph: Tropical storms in Gulf whip up US oil prices

Daily Telegraph: Tropical storms in Gulf whip up US oil prices

“BP, Shell and Chevron began pulling workers out of the Gulf of Mexico yesterday as a fresh tropical storm headed for the area, driving up the price of oil above $60 a barrel in New York.”

Wednesday 6 July 2005

By David Litterick in New York (Filed: 06/07/2005)

BP, Shell and Chevron began pulling workers out of the Gulf of Mexico yesterday as a fresh tropical storm headed for the area, driving up the price of oil above $60 a barrel in New York.

Tropical Storm Cindy, which is expected to strengthen over the next few days, and Tropical Storm Dennis, following close behind, have been seen by meteorologists as heralding what could be the worst hurricane season in decades.

The gulf is responsible for 25pc of the oil and gas consumed in the US, producing 1.7m barrels of oil a day and 12.3billion cubic feet of gas.

French group Total said it was shutting off around 65,000 barrels of oil a day because of the storm, while Marathon Oil has also shut off a small amount of production. The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port stopped loading crude oil because of rough seas.

Crude oil on New York’s Nymex exchange rose above $60 a barrel to $60.10 at one stage – just shy of the record of $60.95. In London, Brent crude for August delivery rose to $58.35 in late trading.

Shell said it had withdrawn around 60 non-essential workers from the Gulf but that production was not affected. Nevertheless, the price is expected to continue to rise this week as fresh doubts emerge as to whether there will be enough supply ahead of the peak seasonal demand in the fourth quarter of the year.

The National Hurricane Centre said it was the earliest date on record for four named storms to have formed in the Atlantic basin, underscoring predictions that the 2005 hurricane season could be more active than usual.

OPEC, which last week fuelled a surge in prices by suspending talks on increasing its output, claims the high price is caused by a lack of refining capacity rather than a lack of crude.

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