Colonial Pipeline Restarts After Hack, But Supply Chain Won’t Return To Normal For A Few Days


Fuel tanks are seen at Colonial Pipeline Baltimore Delivery in Baltimore, Maryland on May 10, 2021.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Colonial Pipeline restarted operations at around 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday after a ransomware attack last week forced the entire system offline on Friday night. The company warned, however, that its pipeline would not be fully functional immediately.

“Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal,” Colonial said in a statement. “Certain markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience or continue to experience intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period.” Colonial will safely transport as much gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as possible and will continue to do so until markets return. to normal, ”the company added.

Shortly before the announcement of the Colonial restart, President Joe Biden said he expected “good news” in the next 24 hours. He added that the White House had been in “very close” contact with the company.

Most of the pipeline, which is the largest fuel line on the northeastern Gulf Coast, has been offline since Friday. The company shut down its systems as part of a proactive measure after falling victim to a ransomware attack by a criminal group known as DarkSide.

The pipeline is a vital part of America’s petroleum infrastructure, carrying approximately 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel fuel, fuel oil and jet fuel. The pipeline spans 5,500 miles and carries almost half of the East Coast’s fuel supply. The system also supplies kerosene to airports, including Atlanta and Baltimore.

Given the importance of the pipeline, there has been swift action from Washington, in what officials called a “comprehensive federal response.”

The Department of Energy led the federal government’s response in coordination with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm previously said the company would make a decision to restart by the end of the day on Wednesday.

“So far there is no evidence from our intelligence services that Russia is involved although there is evidence that the actor’s ransomware is in Russia. They have some responsibility to handle this. “Biden said of the White House on Monday.

Officials warned gas supplies remained at reasonable levels, but panicked consumers headed for the pump as the pipeline shutdown dragged on for days.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 68% of North Carolina gas stations were out of gas, according to data from GasBuddy. In South Carolina and Georgia, 45% of stations were dry, while 49% of stations in Virginia reported outages.

Gasoline prices also rose, with the national average of one gallon surpassing $ 3 on Wednesday for the first time since 2014.

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