Keep it coming – Tanker trucks line up for refilling at the Tank Farms in Belton as drivers work overtime transporting gasoline to help ease the strain being created by the cyber attack on Colonial Pipeline. The pipeline, which extends from Texas to New Jersey, supplies fuel to approximately 45 percent of the East Coast. The Belton terminal is a major supplier on the line. Colonial officials were saying that they expect the 5,500 mile pipeline to be back online by this Friday, however there could still be residual delays as it takes about 15–18 days for fuel to flow from Texas to New Jersey. South Carolina’s gas price average increased by 7 cents on the week, currently sitting at $2.67, which is 9 cents more expensive than last month and $1.10 more expensive than a year ago. Some local gas stations were higher and prices could hit $3 gallon.
Colonial Pipeline taking steps to deliver gas, get system back online
As of Wednesday, Colonial Pipeline continues to make forward progress in around-the-clock efforts to return their system to service, with additional laterals operating manually to deliver existing inventories to markets along the pipeline. Markets experiencing supply constraints and/or not serviced by other fuel delivery systems are being prioritized. They are also collaborating with the Department of Energy (DOE) to evaluate market conditions to support this prioritization.
The Colonial website states that since the pipeline system was taken offline, working with shippers, Colonial has delivered approximately 967,000 barrels, approximately 41 million gallons, to various delivery points along their system. This includes delivery into the following markets: Atlanta, Ga., Belton and Spartanburg, S.C., Charlotte and Greensboro, N.C., Baltimore, Md., and Woodbury and Linden N.J.
Additionally, in preparation for the system restart, they have taken delivery of an additional 2 million barrels (~84 million gallons) from refineries for deployment upon restart.
Colonial has increased aerial patrols of their pipeline right of way and deployed more than 50 personnel to walk and drive approximately 5,000 miles of pipeline each day.
Actions taken by the Federal Gove Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint and actions taken by several Governors to lift weight restrictions on tanker trucks should help alleviate local supply disruptions.
The website states, “Our primary focus remains the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We will continue to provide updates as restoration efforts progress.”
Restoring the network to normal operations is a process that requires the diligent remediation of systems, which takes time. In response to the cybersecurity attack on their system, Colonial proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of their IT systems. “To restore service, we must work to ensure that each of these systems can be brought back online safely,” the website states.
“We continue to evaluate product inventory in storage tanks at our facilities and others along our system and are working with our shippers to move this product to terminals for local delivery.”