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Tropical Storm Gustav: Insiders Weigh In

Brooke Sopelsa,|Writer/Producer
Thursday, 28 Aug 2008 | 11:30 AM ET

Tropical Storm Gustav is moving slowly toward the Gulf of Mexico, and energy companies, governments and retailers are preparing, should it strengthen to hurricane status. CNBC asked energy and retail insiders to weigh in on the potential impact from this storm.

Getting Ready for Gustav
The storm pushes oil majors to start evacuating staff from rigs in the Gulf, with Scott Bernhardt, Planalytics; NBC's Mark Potter and CNBC's Mary Thompson

Potential to Be "Real Monster"

“This storm has the potential to be a real monster…It missed Cuba, which is certainly good for people on Cuba, but that puts it out over open water and it has a lot of opportunity to strengthen. It’s going to go right into the loop; there’s a lot of warm water out there.”

Scott Bernhardt, Planalytics Chief Operating Officer

Gustav & the Gulf
Gustav is expected to head into the Gulf of Mexico at hurricane strength, with John Hofmeister, Shell Oil Co. former president/CEO Of U.S. Operations; Todd Colvin, MF Global and Peter Beutel, Cameron Hanover

Best & Worst Case Scenarios

“If the worst case scenario were to occur, I think you could see a spike of $10, $15, even $20 (in oil prices). However, the worst possible scenario is not necessarily the most likely one. If nothing happens, then prices are going to go right back down, and probably will even break that $109 level.”

Peter Beutel, Cameron Hanover

Gustav & Oil
Insight on the impact hurricane Gustav will have on oil as it heads to the Gulf of Mexico, with Addison Armstrong, Tradition Energy director, market research

Impact on Oil Prices

“I think the advent of the storm has been fully priced into the market...Technically we’re in a good resistance band here just between $119.50 and $120. A breakthrough of that I think is going to lead to $120 and then beyond that to $125, but then again there’s a lot of time between now and when the actual damage from the storm, if any, becomes known, and that’s really what’s going to push the market higher.”

Addison Armstrong, Tradition Energy Director of Market Research

Gustav Predictions
Preparing for hurricane Gustav, with John Tovar, Home Depot Gulf region vice president

Home Depot Prepares for Gustav

“We’ve had a lot of customers in the store purchasing all of the hurricane-related items, things such as plywood, generators, batteries, flashlights, et cetera, but right now we’re really focused on replenishing the stores. We’ve got over 500 trucks standing by and ready to be deployed to those areas where the customers are demanding the product.”

John Tovar, Home Depot Gulf Region Vice President

Preparing for the Worst
Watching Gustav's every move as it makes its way across the Gulf, with Debbie Singletary, Lowe's regional vice president

Lowes Sees Consumers Quick to Act

“People are preparing a little bit sooner now than they have in the past in the previous storms. As we watch what’s going on, we really see the consumer getting out and getting ready to protect their homes and to protect their families.”

Debbie Singletary, Lowe's Regional Vice President

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