Hurricanes pose threat to gas supply

Sunday, June 8th 2008, 10:59 pm
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

Experts are predicting a surge in gas prices if a hurricane strikes the Gulf Coast.

The coast is littered with oil rigs and refineries and expert say one storm could mean paying $5 or $6 a gallon for gas.

"Six of the world's 20 largest refineries are right along that coast," said Ron Shaw, associate professor of finance at Oklahoma City University.

If a tropical system steers toward any of those facilities or the 4,000 oil platforms along the coast Oklahomans will see a jump in prices at the pump.

"Well, some of the people who are more expert than myself, are saying $5 to $6 a gallon if a major storm came through and really disrupted the supply," Shaw said.

Meteorologists expect increased storm activity including 15 names storms.

In 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita slammed into the coast, the average price of gasoline shot up at least 17 percent. Shaw warns that weaker storms can be just as powerful when it comes to the prices at the pump.

"It doesn't have to be the kind of storm that wipes everything off the surface," Shaw said. "Some of the slower moving storms still disrupt the pipelines."