NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Hurricane Gustav's rampage through the Gulf of Mexico was a stark reminder that U.S. oil supplies are vulnerable to major storms, analysts said.
The downgrading of Gustav's strength eased concerns about major supply disruptions, Frank Verrastro of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told The Washington Post.
However, the storm shut down operations at the largest U.S. oil import terminal, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, and interrupted flow of about 1.2 million barrels of oil a day, the Post reported.
On Monday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, requested President Bush release oil supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Bush has said he would only use the reserve in the event of an international crisis or a threat to national security, the Post said.
Many of the oil platforms damaged in 2005 by hurricanes Katrina and Rita have been replaced with facilities that can withstand Category 3 hurricanes, but the threat on oil supplies remains.
"A disruption is a disruption," said Kenneth Medlock, an energy fellow with Rice University's Baker Institute. "It doesn't matter if it's because of a war in the Middle East, a disruption in Africa or a hurricane in the Gulf."