11 September 2008 05:52 [Source: ICIS news]
SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Hurricane Ike maintained its strength late on Wednesday, heading northwest for coastal Texas, where a number of refinery and petrochemical plants have started shutting operations fearing damage to facilities.
At 22:00 Houston time (03:00 GMT), the centre of Ike was about 675 miles (1,090km) east of Brownsville, Texas, and about 325 miles (525km) south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi river, the US National Hurricane Center said.
Ike, classified as a category two hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, has maximum sustained winds near 100 miles/hour (160km/hour), the Centrer said.
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Ike was expected to gradually gather strength and become a major hurricane in the next two days, it added.
The hurricane was expected to make landfall on Saturday just north of Port Lavaca, 135 miles (217km) from
Concerns that oil facilities would be affected by the new weather disturbance pushed crude prices higher. At 12:32 Singapore time (04:32 GMT), October NYMEX light sweet crude futures were up $0.99 at $103.57/bbl from Wednesday’s close of $102.58.
October Brent on
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