Good News And Bad News On The Gas Crisis

The hackers have been defeated and the Colonial Pipeline’s operations have once again resumed, for the most part at least. Experts say that it may take more than two weeks for the gasoline stockpiled in Houston to travel down and reach distribution sites along the East Coast.

“Transit times for gasoline to pass through Colonial’s network of pipelines that allow oil products to flow from the U.S. Gulf Coast, up to its North Carolina hub, and then on to New York Harbor, is 14 days and 16 hours, at a speed of about 5 miles per hour, according to the most recent schedule sent to shippers,” reported Bloomberg News. “Diesel and jet fuel, heavier and more dense products, need about 19 days to make the same trip that spans about 1,600 miles through the busiest pipeline system in America.”

This past Friday, Colonial was hit with a Ransomware cyberattack that took control and forced the shutdown of the 5,500-mile pipeline which serves as the main artery to move over 100 million gallons of fuel from Texas all the way to New Jersey on a daily basis, counter for almost half of all fuel consumed on the East Coast. With the attack, the company has suspended all operations as it fought back against the hackers and secured its system, but in a breakthrough on Thursday, they issued a release stating that its operations have resumed.

The company stated that it “has made substantial progress in safely restarting our pipeline system and can report that product delivery has commenced in a majority of the markets we service.”

Patrick De Haan, an analyst for GasBuddy, stated that he thinks that shortages are going to get worse over the next few days and tweeted out: “While the Colonial Pipeline is restarting, the outage numbers may drift higher over the next 48 hours before then beginning to fall.”

However, De Hann stated that he expected a shorter timeline of events than Bloomberg. “About 7-14 days of headaches if you need fuel in GA, NC, SC, or VA. The situation will definitely take time and slowly improve due to a high number of outages and higher number of stations to refuel,” he stated in a tweet.

De Hann also complied some data for everyone that he tweeted out showing which states were, in fact, the hardest hit by the crisis with North Carolina and Virginia topping the charts.

In spite of both Bloomberg and De Hann, Colonial was far more optimistic about the situation. “Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal,” Colonial Pipeline released in a statement. “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,” Colonial continued.

On Wednesday, the White House, after recently telling private companies to just pay off the terrorists, stated that there is an “end in sight” to the crisis and urged people to not hoard and panic purchase fuel. “President Biden and the White House will monitor the situation closely in the coming days, and continue to urge Americans to just purchase what they need, and not hoard fuel, as supply is restored,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated.

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