Weekend Storm Forecast for Gulf of Mexico

(Dow Jones), Jan. 13, 2010

AccuWeather.com said Wednesday that a storm is brewing in the Gulf of Mexico that could over the weekend potentially generate "conditions similar to a minimal tropical storm."

Forecasters are blaming El Nino for the "rogue storm" that will affect U.S. Gulf states Friday afternoon and into Saturday with gales of up to 50 miles per hour and waves of 10-15 feet, the press release said.

This could impact oil and natural gas platforms in the area. Bill Day, spokesman for Valero Energy Corp. (VLO), the U.S.'s largest independent refiner with plants along the Gulf Coast, said, the company "will closely monitor this storm as it develops, as we do with all storms, but for now Valero is not anticipating any effect on its Gulf Coast refineries."

Offshore drillers in Gulf could not be immediately reached for comment.

The storm is expected to begin at around 1 p.m. Friday for the western and central Gulf and travel east Saturday. AccuWeather also said that the warming trend that is expected to decrease demand for heating oil in the Northeast will end by the close of the month.

"Cold temperatures will be back by the last week of January," said Joe Bastardi, AccuWeather.com expert long-range forecaster.

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