Oil Tops $70 A Barrel As Katrina Batters Gulf Production

Denver (AP) Even the southeastern–most points of Colorado lie 875 miles from New Orleans, but consumers won't have to be in the eye of the storm to feel the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Crude oil futures spiked to more than $70 a barrel for the first time Monday morning, as the storm took dead aim at America's oil and refinery operations.

The hike results from fears that Gulf of Mexico facilities could be out of commission for weeks. The region is a major energy production hub for the United States, producing about one–third of the oil in the country, and one–fourth of the natural gas.

Katrina has already shut down one million gallons of refinery capacity. Already–high gasoline prices could jump another 20 cents per gallon in the next few days.

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