Oil prices near 117 dollars on Hurricane Gustav

SINGAPORE, August 27, 2008 (AFP) – World oil prices rose in Asian trade Wednesday, underpinned by concerns Hurricane Gustav may head for the Gulf of Mexico where key US energy installations are located, dealers said. Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said it was planning to evacuate some staff from its Gulf facilities because of Gustav.

Oil prices have tumbled from record highs above 147 dollars on July 11 after breaking through 100 dollars at the start of the year

Prices were also supported by the possibility of heightened tensions between Russia and the West after Moscow recognised the Georgian rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent, they said.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for October delivery, gained 67 cents to 116.94 dollars a barrel after closing up 1.16 dollars during US trading on Tuesday.

Brent North Sea crude for October delivery added 23 cents to 114.86 dollars.

“Oil markets are keeping a nervous eye on Hurricane Gustav, with forecasts showing it may move into the Gulf of Mexico,” said David Moore, a Sydney-based commodity analyst with Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

“As well, diplomatic tensions involving Russia have intensified fol