Hundreds of offshore drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as pipelines and refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast, may be affected by Tropical Storm Karen as it heads towards an expected Saturday landfall, by which time it may have turned into Hurricane Karen.

The Gulf of Mexico provides 19 percent of the U.S.' crude oil and 6 percent of its natural gas; the Gulf Coast accounts for about 44 percent of U.S. refining capacity.

In 2008 hurricanes Ike and Gustav disrupted more than 20 percent of U.S. refinery capacity, with a total of 60 platforms destroyed in those storms, according to the Minerals Management Service (now called the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement). These facilities are located in the Corpus Christi, Houston/Galveston, Port Arthur, and Lake Charles regions

Louisiana declared a statewide state of emergency and in Florida 18 counties have declared a state of emergency.

The Coast Guard told International Business Times that it is currently organizing and preparing for the hurricane passes and its aftermath.