Hurricane Ike Heads Toward Houston - TheStreet

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

reported.

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 TheStreet.com.