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Colonial Pipeline says deliveries will reach all markets by midday

Published: (Updated: ) in USA news by .

Shortages due to panic buying could last for up to two weeks, analyst says.

Colonial Pipeline said Thursday it has restarted much of its pipeline with deliveries expected in regions in the southeastern U.S. that had experienced gasoline shortages although one analyst said fuel supplies will remain tight for up to two weeks in states where pumps had run dry.

The company restarted operations on its pipeline Wednesday after a cyberattack forced it to shut down the crucial fuel line that delivers nearly half the gasoline to the East Coast.

“Colonial Pipeline 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,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “By mid-day today, we project that each market we service will be receiving product from our system.”

Stretches of the pipeline running between Houston and Selma, S.C., and Baltimore and its terminus in Linden, N.J., are already operating, the company said. The stretch running between North Carolina and northern Virginia is expected to come online later today, the company said.

Colonial’s announcement that it had succeeded in restarting much of the pipeline came the morning after it had begun the process, though drivers will still need to wait for trucks to deliver the fuel from the pipeline's storage terminals to gas stations. The Biden administration has scrambled to help ease a fuel shortage that has spread throughout the southeast as drivers drain gasoline from gas pumps faster than delivery trucks can bring in fresh supply.

There will be "about 7-14 days of headaches if you need fuel in GA, NC, SC or VA," GasBuddy market analyst Patrick De Haan wrote on Twitter this morning of the situation. Tight supplies could last for a shorter duration in other states in the region, he added.

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"The situation will definitely take time and slowly improve due to a high number of outages and higher number of stations to refuel," De Haan wrote.

Also early Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security said it had approved one’s unidentified company’s request for a waiver from shipping regulations banning the use of foreign vessels to make deliveries between domestic ports. The fuel industry had been requesting such waivers, saying it would speed shipments of gasoline from refineries to markets along the Atlantic Coast.

“In the interest of national defense, I have approved a temporary and targeted waiver request to an individual company,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“This waiver will help provide for the transport of oil products between the Gulf Coast and East Coast ports to ease oil supply constraints as a result of the interruptions in the operations of the Colonial Pipeline.”

The 5,500-mile pipeline, which supplies nearly half the fuel to the East Coast, had been brought down on Friday amid a cyberattack from Russian hacker group DarkSide.

The outage resulted in a spate of panic buying from drivers who lined up at gas stations and eventually caused massive fuel shortages. Congress has called for greater attention to cybersecurity among the country’s energy infrastructure.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks on the pipeline incident around noon Thursday.

Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

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