Speaking of oil prices and weird weather -
Cyclone Gonu, the worst storm the Arabian Peninsula has seen since records started being kept in 1945, is expected to hit Oman within the next day and pass right over the Strait of Hormuz. Other sources predict the storm will turn North over the Gulf of Oman and come ashore in Southern Iran.
A Catagory 5.5 Cyclone, Gonu has winds of 160 mph and is kicking up waves of 40 feet. While it is expected to diminish as it comes ashore, it will still be a formidable storm and Oman has declared a state of emergency. Tankers there are reverse loading - pumping oil back to the storage tanks on shore. They expect 10 meter high waves to batter the shore.
Oman - whose production peaked back in 1997 - produces about 3/4 of a million barrels of oil per day. World production is around 85 million bbl/day. Also, about 1/3 of the oil used in the world is shipped through the Strait of Hormuz - including 90% of Japan's oil imports. [This vulnerability is why Japan has been trying to buy oil and gas from Russia (the Sakalin II project), why Prime Minister Abe recently visited Indonesia and also got Saudi Arabia to agree to stockpile oil on Okinawa, and why Vietnam is now source of some of the crude oil used in power plants in Japan.]
Possible damage to infrastructure from surges along the coast of Saudi Arabia is another concern.
As global light sweet oil production has not increased since May of 2005, supply is very tight and relatively small disruptions can cause price spikes. Depending on the severity of any damage, those spikes may not drop back down very much later.
Lets hope this storm gets weakened enough by contact with land that damage is minimized. And while we're hoping (or praying or whatever you do) we should not forget that there are two US Navy Carrier Battle Groups in the Gulf, as well as ships of other nations. They are probably not in danger, but it should give the Navy pause to think that they are more or less bottled up in there due to a storm.
Update- Let me apologize for not saying this in my original post: There is also the human element which can get lost when we focus on economic impacts. People in the path of this storm face ocean surges and flash floods. Lets keep their lives and well being foremost in our thoughts.
I didn't intend to do another oil or climate related post for a while, but this turn of events highlights in bright neon the topics of the previous post, and I'm not seeing it reported by the mainstream US media.