Texas refineries shut down, fuel prices expected to soar

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HOUSTON, Tex. — Be prepared to shell out more money to fill up your truck if Hurricane Rita remains on course and hits Texas the heart of U.S. oil production.

Many oil companies have already shut down operations and are evacuating employees, causing worries there will be a fuel shortage.

“No question, prices are driven by Hurricane Rita,” Energyintel analyst Sam Dale told AOL News. “The fuse is that it will force refinery closures, and if these facilities close it is going to reduce inventories.”

Texas produces more than 25 per cent of U.S. crude oil. Eighteen of the state’s 26 refineries are located near the Gulf of Mexico and are in jeopardy of a direct hit by Hurricane Rita.

“Some of those refineries in Texas, they’re at sea level. It’s a table top, it floods every easily,” said Ed Silliere, vice-president of risk management at Energy Merchant LLC in New York, told U.S news services.

As of Thursday, more than 73 per cent of oil production in the area was blocked, as the Category 4 storm charged through the Gulf.

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