World oil prices soared to new record highs on Tuesday as investors worried about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on oil production in the United States.
The price of a barrel of crude oil for future delivery went as high as 70 dollars and 85 cents in New York trading. Prices fell below 70 dollars a barrel by the close of trading.
The powerful hurricane tore through an area that produces about twenty-five percent of the crude oil used by the United States. It also shut down key refineries in the path of the storm.
Even before the hurricane, world oil prices were at high levels as strong demand from China, India, and the United States strained the ability of oil producers and refiners to get products to market.