Cyberattack on pipeline system creates gas shortage

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On Friday, Colonial Pipeline, which transports refined petroleum products (gasoline, jet fuel, etc.) from Texas to New Jersey, halted operations because of a cyberattack on its system. By Monday evening, service stations along the East Coast reported long lines and shortages of gasoline as people began to panic and topped off their vehicles. This is also resulting in higher gas prices across the nation.

Colonial Pipeline carries 2.5 million barrels per day (b/d) of petroleum products through a system of approximately 5,500 miles of pipeline.

“Because no refineries between Alabama and the mid-Atlantic produce substantial quantities of transportation fuels, the southeastern United States is supplied primarily by pipeline flows, and to a lesser degree, with marine shipments from the U.S. Gulf Coast and imports,” according to the Energy Information Administration.

Until Colonial Pipeline resumes operation, petroleum distribution terminals in the Southeast will rely on inventories and on supplies obtained from alternative sources, such as the smaller 720,000 b/d Plantation Pipeline that also carries petroleum products from the U.S. Gulf Coast to as far as Washington, DC, EIA stated.

Markets along the Atlantic Coast with access to deepwater ports, such as Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; Wilmington, North Carolina; and Norfolk, Virginia, can receive limited imports from the global market and from marine shipments via coastwise compliant shipping originating from the U.S. Gulf Coast. Central Atlantic and Northeast markets can import petroleum products from Europe and Canada, and they can also obtain supplies from in-region refineries.

Federal and state governments have issued regulatory waivers and notices to loosen restrictions on trucked shipments of petroleum products. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued waivers on driving time for truckers delivering refined petroleum products for 17 states and the District of Columbia.

From Oilman Magazine and Associated Press

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