Oil prices hit $70 on Tuesday, Sept. 4, as Tropical Storm Gordon heads for the Gulf Coast between Mississippi and Florida.
U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude futures for October delivery rose 0.3% to $70.00 at 2:10 p.m. New York time, while Brent crude, the global benchmark, climbed 0.2% to $78.31.
Tropical Storm Gordon, with top winds of 65 miles an hour, is expected to make landfall as a hurricane tonight. Its pending arrival prompted the National Hurricane Center to issue a hurricane warning from Mississippi to the border between Alabama and Florida as Gordon "is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge and hurricane conditions to portions of the central Gulf Coast." On Monday, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell declared a state of emergency for the city.
Ahead of Gordon's landfall, oil and gas companies are working to minimize any potential damages. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) has evacuated offshore staff and is performing a controlled shutdown of its Mobile Bay facilities off the coast of Alabama. The Irving, Texas-based oil giant has also evacuated the Lena platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
"We have activated our severe weather preparedness plans for our Baton Rouge area facilities. We are continuing to monitor the path of the storm and have taken necessary safety measures in anticipation of potential impact on the area," Exxon spokeswoman Suann Guthrie said via email. "Operations are currently normal."
Shares of Exxon Mobil rose 0.5% to $80.58.
"All other Anadarko operated and producing platforms remain on production," the company said in a statement. "We will return personnel to Horn Mountain and Marlin when it is safe to do so."
Shares of Anadarko fell 0.4% to $64.15.
The Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production accounts for 17% of total U.S. crude oil production and 5% of natural gas production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
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