What is currently Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to become Hurricane Isaac by Tuesday morning in the Gulf of Mexico. The projections before the last 18 to 24 hours showed this looking more and more like it was set to straddle the western coast of Florida and to pose a large threat to the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa.
The new projections have drifted a bit more westward and that puts the west side of the projected storm path along the eastern-third of Louisiana all the way over to what still could be the whole of the western coast of Florida. What is now more and more of an issue is the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas infrastructure.
Reports are out that Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE: RDS-A) is preparing to evacuate non-essential staff from its Gulf offshore assets. If that starts, it is sort of like the mobilization that led to World War I… If one company evacuates, they pretty much all have to evacuate if they are in the same area.
We currently have the landfall looking to be somewhere around Mobile, Alabama on either late Tuesday night or in the very early hours of Wednesday morning. ON a side note, we would caution that weather forecasts have been very inaccurate this far out so far in the 2012 hurricane season.
All you have to do is look at the big map from NOAA showing nearly 4,000 active oil and gas platforms to see how much production can come offline when hurricane threats become more real.
JON C. OGG