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Hurricane Ike swirled over the Gulf of Mexico

it threatens U.S. offshore oil patch

Ike, a Category 1 storm with 85 mile-per-hour (140 kph) winds, left a long trail of destruction across the Caribbean and had energy companies fearful it could do the same to their Gulf oil rigs as they scurried to evacuate workers and shut down production.
Oil futures had earlier dipped more than $2 to below $105 on the forecast, although the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami warned that its projections were subject to change.
New Orleans, still scarred by Katrina, which killed 1,500 people and caused $80 billion in damage on the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005, appeared to be out of danger.