Top US pipeline resumes pumping after cyber attack that resulted in six-day outage US news
The U.S. main fuel pipeline on Thursday carried some of the first million gallons of automotive fuel after a six-day outage following a crippling cyber attack that led to fuel shortages in east coast states.
The Colonial pipeline, which carries 100 million gallons per day of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, resumed computer-controlled pumping on Wednesday evening after adding safety measures. It will take several days for deliveries to fully recover and interruptions are possible, the company said.
The shutdown caused gasoline shortages and emergency declarations from Virginia to Florida, led two refineries to cut production and forced airlines to revamp some refueling operations.
The restart of the pipeline is expected to bring supplies to some hard-hit areas as early as Thursday, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said. She predicted that gasoline shortages could end in a few days.
Joe Biden was scheduled to deliver a speech on the issue mid-morning Thursday.
“Relief is coming,” said Jeanette McGee, spokesperson for AAA auto travel group.
Motorists’ angers frayed as panic buying drove stations to run out even where supplies were available.
The national average price of gasoline topped $ 3 a gallon, the highest since October 2014, the American Automobile Association said, and prices in some areas have climbed as high as 11 ¢ a day.
As FBI investigators dug into an attack that crippled much of America’s energy infrastructure, the group believed to be responsible said it was releasing data from breaches at three other companies, including a tech company in the United States. ‘Illinois.
It was not known how much money the hackers were looking for and the pipeline operator declined to comment. Colonial has a type of insurance that typically covers ransom payments, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
To stem fuel shortages, four states and federal regulators have eased restrictions on fuel drivers to speed up deliveries of fresh supplies. Georgia suspended a sales tax on gasoline until Saturday.
The United States has also granted an exemption to an undisclosed shipper allowing it to transport gasoline and diesel from the U.S. Gulf Coast to east coast ports on a foreign-flagged vessel.
The United States limits shipments between national ports to US-built and crewed vessels.
Gulf Coast refiners that bring fuel to market on the Colonial pipeline had cut back processing as an alternative pipeline filled to capacity last weekend.
Total has cut gasoline production at its refinery in Port Arthur and Citgo Petroleum at its plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Airlines have started refueling their planes at their destinations, instead of the usual departure points.
Delta chief executive Ed Bastian said on Wednesday that more fuel would be available “hopefully by the end of the week and as long as these forecasts come true we hope all will be well.”