Cyberattack Causes Fuel Pipeline Disruption

From World Kinect Energy Services

A cyberattack forced the largest US fuel pipeline to shut down on Friday, May 7th.  The Colonial Pipeline system spans more than 5,500 miles and transports about 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast. It transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and home heating oil.  The disruption has already impacted the rate of shipments in the eastern United States, driving benchmark petroleum prices to a 3-year high.

Restoring the network to normal operations is a process that requires the diligent remediation of the systems, and takes time. In response to the cybersecurity attack on the system, certain systems were switched offline to contain the threat, which temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of the IT systems. 

While this situation continues to evolve, the Colonial operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach. This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week.

Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint should help alleviate local supply disruptions. However, businesses are encouraged to monitor fuel usage closely and take fuel savings measures over the next several days. Prices are likely to vary significantly over the next few weeks.