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Hurricane Ike Friday was making its way for a direct hit on Houston, where a sizable portion of the nation's refinery output, including the nation's biggest refinery, is located.

Forecasters said the storm was likely to come ashore late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3, with winds up to 130 mph, the

Associated Press


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Several oil and chemical companies began halting operations as the storm moved closer. The upper Texas coast accounts for one-fifth of U.S. refining capacity.

Crude oil for October delivery rose 34 cents to $101.21 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures settled on Thursday at $100.87 a barrel, the lowest settlement price since March 24. Gasoline futures also rose after gaining more than 3% on Thursday.

This article was written by a staff member of