Gulf Coast waits for Gustav's next move

Satellite image of Tropical Storm Gustav

TEXT OF STORY

KAI RYSSDAL: The weather's very much on the minds of a lot of people along the Gulf Coast. The latest forecast for Tropical Storm Gustav has it making landfall there Monday morning sometime.

The predicted track's not specific as to where it's going to hit. But oil traders weren't taking any chances. Crude jumped almost 2 bucks today on fears Gustav will hit oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Buddy Bollfrass is an engineer and longtime oil-rig worker down in Texas. We got him on the phone earlier today to ask how oil companies get themselves ready for a storm.

Buddy Bollfrass: Usually there are enough platforms producing out there that the path of the hurricane makes 10 to 20 percent of them shut down. So that in itself doesn't really effect oil prices much.

But, of course, it all depends on how big the storm finally gets. Predictions for Gustav are to be a Category 3.

Bollfrass: If we had a Katrina, where it really got heavy and it destroyed pipelines and slowed things down and came on shore in Mississippi and hurt the refineries, now you're talking about gasoline prices.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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