The Colonial pipeline began operations late Wednesday, and a cyberattack that allowed oil supplies to reach eastern U.S. states caused five gas stations to explode five days after the shutdown.
Colonial said it was restarting around 5 p.m., but warned that “it will take several days for the product delivery supply to return to normal.”
U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm confirmed in a tweet the recovery of flows, writing that she has just spoken by telephone with the CEO of Colonial Pipeline.
The 5,500-mile pipeline system has a capacity of 2.5 m per barrel per day and is a critical artery that carries liquid fuels from oil refineries to the east coast states. Zen close last Friday after the FBI said it was a rescue attack by a hacking group called DarkSide.
The blackout boosted average U.S. gasoline prices A gallon above $ 3 on Wednesday, their highest level since 2014. Gasoline futures fell about 1 percent to $ 2.14 a gallon on Wednesday evening after the Colonials announced a restart of the pipeline.
Buying panic In some parts of the southeastern United States, two-thirds of North Carolina gas stations reported a shortage of gas stations on Wednesday evening, while drivers were refueling, according to data provider GasBuddy.
“Now, at last, Americans can rest assured that gasoline, diesel and fuel oil are starting to re-emerge in the affected areas,” said Patrick De Haan, head of oil analysis at GasBuddy.
However, it will take time for the pipeline, which previously carried almost half of the fuel used on the east coast, to return to its previous service level. Colonial said some of its markets may “interrupt service interruptions in the initial period”.
“Colonials will safely move as much gasoline, diesel and fuel as possible and will continue to do so until the market returns to normal,” he added.
Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives at NACS, a shopping association, warns that fuel travels 3-5 miles an hour — or about 100 miles a day — through the pipeline — which will take some time to reach the northeast coast of the Gulf.
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“I mean, it’s the pace of walking, so if you want to know how long it will take, you’re going to walk [from New York] Houston. You’re going to have to wear serious shoes, ”Lenard said.
Richard Joswick, head of oil analysis at S&P Global Platts, said gasoline stocks in the northeastern U.S. would fall to five-year lows as buying panic exacerbated the shortage caused by the five-day pipeline disruption.
A return to normal should take “at least a couple of weeks” for both the east coast and the Gulf Coast refineries for those who have lost their place to extract fuel in recent days, he said.
European fuel exporters began renting containers to increase shipments to the US, while the Biden administration he released some rules to send or truck more fuel from other parts of the country to the eastern states in recent days.