Oil Prices

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Crude oil futures opened the week higher today as oil companies in Mexico's Yutacan peninsula evacuated the key oilfields in front of Hurricane Emily.

In Iraq, oil workers walked off the job yesterday, which could likely affect much-needed export revenue for the war-tattered nation and hurt global supply.

But at the forefront of traders' fears was Hurricane Emily. The Category Four storm slammed into the Yucatan early today with sustained winds of 145 miles per hour. Analysts say it could instantly cut off about three percent of the global diet of 84 (m) million barrels of crude a day.

Forecasters predict the storm won't smash into U-S rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, which are responsible for around 30 percent of the total American output. But many oil companies are shutting down platforms anyway as a precaution, and that's expected to disrupt the supply flow.

Shell abandoned three offshore facilities, suspending output of around a thousand barrels daily and halting 20 (m) million cubic feet of gas production. Mexico's state oil company, Pemex, has evacuated its Bay of Campeche offshore rigs and closed its taps.