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U.S. oil sector has eye on tropical storm

Aug. 16, 2013 at 8:25 AM

MIAMI, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Oil companies working in the Gulf of Mexico are bracing for Tropical Storm Erin, which the National Hurricane Center said Friday was strengthening.

Marathon Oil said it evacuated non-essential workers from a platform about 130 miles off the coast of Louisiana. British energy company BP said four of its oil and natural gas installations in the area were affected as well, Upstream Online reported Thursday.

Hurricane Isaac, which struck the southern Gulf Coast area last summer, and Hurricane Sandy, an October storm that battered the East Coast, caused regional spikes in gasoline prices because of their impacts on the energy industry.

Mexican energy company Pemex and Shell said they were monitoring the storm as it approaches, Upstream said.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Erin was about 430 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands. The storm was moving west-northwest at about 16 miles per hour Friday.

"Some slow strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours," it said.

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