Energy & Environment

Colonial Pipeline restarting operations after cyberattack

Colonial Pipeline announced Wednesday that it has begun a restart of its operations after a cyberattack forced the company to shut down late last week, leading to gas shortages on the East Coast.

It began the restart at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, but it will take “several days” for product delivery to return to normal, the company said in a statement.

“Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal,” the company said.

Colonial did not provide specifics on exactly how much of its product would be able to move again. 

It noted that some of the markets it serves may experience intermittent interruptions during its startup and called the news a “first step” in the restart process, saying it would keep providing updates on the issue.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm also said in a tweet that the pipeline would restart its operations. 

The pipeline, which provides 45 percent of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, announced over the weekend that it would shut down following a ransomware attack.

Following the shutdown, many states in the Southeast saw gasoline shortages, though analysts largely linked them to panic buying. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, 68 percent of gas stations in North Carolina, 49 percent of gas stations in Virginia, and 45 percent of gas stations in South Carolina and Georgia had no fuel, according to gas price website GasBuddy.

Other states saw less drastic but still significant outages, with 18 percent of gas stations in Tennessee, 14 percent of gas stations in Florida, 13 percent of gas stations in Maryland and 12 percent of gas stations in Washington, D.C., reporting outages.

Gasoline prices also rose to more than $3 per gallon on Wednesday for the first time since 2014, but they had already been rising as more parts of the economy reopen and more people get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

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