Hurricane forecasts good for energy

Slow hurricane season good for U.S. energy
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Aug. 8, 2014 at 8:40 AM
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MIAMI, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. forecasters say one of the main drivers of higher fuel prices, hurricanes, should stay away for the remainder of the season.

Forecasters with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration said it should be a below-average Atlantic hurricane season.

"We are more confident that a below-normal season will occur because atmospheric and oceanic conditions that suppress cyclone formation have developed and will persist through the season," Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's climate prediction center, said in a statement Thursday.

When Hurricane Katrina, a category 5 storm, hit in 2005, U.S. retail gasoline prices increased 33 percent in the month that followed. Hurricane Sandy, a category 1 storm, left fuel shortages across much of the U.S. East Coast in 2012.

Tropical Storm Karen was the only 2013 storm to affect production in U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It shut down 3.1 million barrels of oil and 6.7 billion cubic feet of gas in October.

In June, the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, said its mean estimate is that 12 million barrels of crude oil and 30 billion cubic feet of natural gas could be forced offline during the current hurricane season. That would be three and four times higher than 2013, respectively, if forecasts are accurate.

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