US oil prices have soared to a record above 70 dollars a barrel as Katrina tears through the Gulf of Mexico.
It is estimated nearly half of the Gulf’s crude oil production has been forced to shut down – and that number is expected to rise.
“We have 135 petrochemical companies refining 40 percent of the nation’s oil – this country will know that this storm hit New Orleans,” said Colonel Terry Ebert, director of Homeland Security for New Orleans.
Dealers are particularly concerned as OPEC is already pumping at near its full capacity.
Production elsewhere is also under strain with Iran’s major Nowruz oilfield forced to shut down on Saturday due to technical problems.