?NEW ORLEANS ? By Wednesday, Hurricane Isaac had lost enough steam to become a tropical storm, packing enough punch to still cause power outages and flooding but doing little damage to offshore oil rigs and refineries, Reuters reports. U.S. crude oil futures plummeted 84 cents to reach $95.49 per barrel and gasoline futures dropped 0.7% on Wednesday as a result of the downgraded storm.
?The rigs offshore should be up in about a week,? predicted energy expert Kenneth Medlock with Rice University's Baker Institute. ?The offshore facilities should be okay with regard to major damage ... I would not expect a prolonged production outage.?
"After a flyover inspection in the Gulf of Mexico, Shell will likely restart its oil platforms today. BP and Chevron will wait for clearer weather before sending in inspection crews to its offshore rigs.
As of Wednesday morning, 95% of oil and 72% of natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico stayed offline. Isaac shut down around 5.5% of the U.S. total refining capacity. Gulf Coast refineries provide 45% of U.S. crude processing capacity.
Meanwhile, convenience stores along the storm?s path continue to assist their communities with needed food, ice and fuel.
NACS Resource: Hurricane and Retail Fuel Prices:�When hurricanes disrupt power and refinery production on the Gulf Coast, shortages of gasoline and other motor fuels products can develop more than a thousand miles away. Read more.