Colonial pipeline recovers operations after ransomware attack
Colonial pipelines began operations late Wednesday, and a cyber attack that allowed oil supplies to reach eastern U.S. states five days after the shutdown caused fuel to be dumped at gas stations.
Colonial said it will begin restarting around 5 p.m., but warned that “it will take several days for the product’s supply chain to return to normal.”
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm confirmed in a tweet the recovery of flows, writing that she had just spoken by phone with the CEO of Colonial Pipeline.
The 5,500-mile pipeline system has a capacity for 2.5 m of barrels per day, and is a critical artery that supplies liquid fuel from oil refineries to fuels on the east coast. Zen close last Friday after the FBI said it was a rescue attack by a hacking group called DarkSide.
The blackout pushed up average U.S. gasoline prices A gallon above $ 3 on Wednesday, their highest level since 2014. Gasoline futures fell about 1 percent to $ 2.14 a gallon on Wednesday evening after the Colonial announced the resumption of pipelines.
Buying panic The shortage in some parts of the southeastern U.S. caused two-thirds of North Carolina gas stations to run out of gas, reported on Wednesday evening that the engines were storing fuel, according to data provider GasBuddy.
“Now, at last, Americans can rest assured that gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil are starting to return to the affected areas,” said Patrick De Haan, head of gas analysis at GasBuddy.
However, it will take time for the pipeline, which previously carried almost half of the fuel used on the east coast, to return to its previous service level. Colonial said some of its markets may “interrupt service interruptions in the initial period”.
“Colonials will safely move as much gasoline, diesel and fuel as possible and will continue to do so until the market returns to normal,” he added.
Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives at NACS, a shopping association, warns that fuel travels 3-5 miles an hour — or about 100 miles a day — through the pipeline — which will take some time to reach the northeast coast of the Gulf.
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“I mean, it’s the pace of walking, so if you want to know how long it will take, you’re going to walk [from New York] Houston. You’re going to have to wear serious shoes, ”Lenard said.
Richard Joswick, chief oil analyst at S&P Global Platts, said gasoline stocks in the northeastern U.S. would fall to five-year lows as panic buying exacerbated the shortage caused by the five-day pipeline disruption.
Returning to normalcy would take “at least a couple of weeks” for both those who have lost the opportunity to extract fuel in recent days for both the east coast and the Gulf Coast refineries, he said.
European fuel exporters began renting containers to increase shipments to the US, while the Biden administration he released some rules to send or truck more fuel from other parts of the country to the eastern states in recent days.