Colonial Pipeline restarted its operations Wednesday afternoon, but the effect on gas prices is yet to happen. The company did warn consumers that normal operations won’t happen until a few days.
Return To Normal In A Few Days
In a statement, Colonial gave its updated timeline. “Following this restart 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. 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 reported.
Colonial’s pipeline remains a critical part of the US petroleum network. It’s a key transport system that ships 2.5 million barrels per day of fossil fuels. The pipeline extends to around 5,500 miles as it supplies a majority of East Coast’s fuel supply. In fact, Colonial supplies the jet fuel requirements for major airports in the area, including those in Atlanta and Baltimore.
Cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline
The Colonial pipeline was the victim of ransomware, where hackers gain access to the company’s computer systems. They steal important and often confidential information from the system and prevent access to it by company employees. Then, the hackers threaten companies that they will delete the data if the company doesn’t pay a ransom. Since the reported cyberattack last Friday, Colonial shut down its computer-aided operation systems to prevent further hacks. A criminal group known as DarkSide is allegedly the perpetrator of this particular crime.
Even President Joe Biden showed a personal interest in the matter, instructing the federal government to focus on helping restart Colonial’s operations. The Departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security joined forces with the FBI to investigate the matter. “So far there is no evidence from our intelligence people that Russia is involved although there is evidence that the actor’s ransomware is in Russia. They have some responsibility to deal with this,” Biden said from the White House on Monday.
Gas Prices Remain High, Supplies Remain Low
Even as officials assured the public that supplies of fuel remained at normal levels, consumers engaged in panic buying sprees. Meanwhile, customers wary of rising gas prices and low supplies trooped to gas stations en masse to fill up their tanks.
By Wednesday, 68% of gas stations in North Carolina were out of gas, according to data from GasBuddy. Meanwhile, Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia all reported that almost half of their gasoline stations are out of fuel. To make matters worse, gas prices shot up. The national average for a gallon exceeded $3 Wednesday. This is the first time the national average price exceeded $3 since 2014.
Are you also lining up to buy gas right now? Do you need fuel, or are you also buying ahead of a shortage or a price increase? Let us know what you think about the Colonial Pipeline fiasco.