Oil and gas producers shut down production and evacuated workers in the Gulf of Mexico Saturday as Tropical Storm Debby began to disrupt operations in the basin.

As of yesterday afternoon, Debby was centered about 220 miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River and was moving slowly north, according to the National Hurricane Center. It had winds of 50 mph, forecasters said.

Some models showed the storm moving toward Florida, but most forecasters agreed Debby was more likely to turn toward the Texas coast, moving across areas south of Louisiana, home to the bulk of the Gulf's oil and gas infrastructure.

The Hurricane Center projected that if Debby stays on that path, it could come ashore late next week along the Texas coast, a major refining hub that is home to a quarter of the nation's refining capacity.

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