On Wednesday, the Colonial Pipeline announced that it has returned to normal operations after a cyberattack last weekend forced the company to shut down its system.
The largest gasoline pipeline on the East Coast was forced to shut down operations after learning its financial computer networks had been infiltrated by a Russia-tied hacker gang known as DarkSide.The Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations Wednesday afternoon around 5 p.m, but officials say it will take several days for the supply chain to get back to normal.
We just got off the phone with #ColonialPipeline CEO. They are restarting pipeline operations today at ~5pm. More soon.
— Secretary Jennifer Granholm (@SecGranholm) May 12, 2021
The attack on the pipeline caused a significant increase in gas prices across the eastern coast of the U.S. within a short period of time. Prices spiked up to as high as $3 a gallon in 16 states. These prices are highly inflated from what is the norm.
“It will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period,” the company said in a statement. “This is the first step in the restart process and would not have been possible without the around-the-clock support of Colonial Pipeline’s dedicated employees who have worked tirelessly to help us achieve this milestone.” the company said.
% of stations without gas:
— Patrick De Haan ⛽️📊 (@GasBuddyGuy) May 13, 2021
According to GasBuddy, a platform that tracks fuel demand, prices, and outages, 71% of the gas stations in North Carolina and 55% in Virginia were without gasoline and 49% of the stations in Georgia.
Colonial’s network is responsible for more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and heating oil per day, or roughly 45% of the fuel consumed on the Eastern Seaboard between the Gulf Coast and the New York metro area. It spans from Texas through southern states and up to New Jersey.
Colonial CEO expressed in yesterday’s statement that safety would be its “primary focus” following the restart. The pipeline operator will conduct a series of safety assessments to comply with federal guidelines.
“This is the first step in the restart process and would not have been possible without the around-the-clock support of Colonial Pipeline’s dedicated employees who have worked tirelessly to help us achieve this milestone,” the company said.
The last time the oil company experienced a shutdown of this magnitude was during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which shot spot Gulf Coast gasoline prices to a five-year high and diesel to near a four-year high.
Americans can expect the Biden administration to use the current chaos the pipeline hack has caused as an argument of why his “comprehensive” cybersecurity and power grid protection initiative is urgent and necessary.