- The Colonial Pipeline shut down for several days after a cyberattack and was restored on Wednesday.
- The pipeline transports nearly half of all fuel on the east coast of the US.
- It will likely take days to weeks for gas stations to return to normal.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The Colonial Pipeline was back in action Wednesday night after a cyberattack led to gas shortages and outages across the East Coast, but experts warn it could take days to weeks for gas prices and availability to return to normal.
The Colonial Pipeline is the largest pipeline of refined oil products in the US, transporting over 45% of all fuel used on the East Coast (when not affected by a cyberattack) to more than 50 million people.
Following the hack and pipeline shutdown, several states declared states of emergency because of gas shortages, including North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. As shortages and outages swept the coast, gas prices skyrocketed.
US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced on Thursday morning that the attempt to restart the pipeline on Wednesday night was a success.
-Secretary Jennifer Granholm (@SecGranholm) May 13, 2021
Echoing Granholm’s tweet, the Colonial Pipeline also released a statement on Thursday to say that each market it services should begin to receive petroleum products from the pipeline by midday.
Patrick De Haan, the head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia will likely take the longest to recover.
-Patrick De Haan ⛽️📊 (@GasBuddyGuy) May 13, 2021
Previous reports suggested that Colonial Pipeline would not pay the $5 million in ransom requested by the hacking group behind the attack, DarkSide, but a new report from Bloomberg indicates that the company paid the ransom in cryptocurrency “within hours” of the attack.
The hacking group behind the cyberattack, DarkSide, received $5 million in ransom from Colonial Pipeline, Bloomberg reported.
Since the attack, Colonial Pipeline’s website has added a CAPTCHA security check before entering the site, seemingly in an effort to prevent a future hack. The company has been searching for a cybersecurity manager for at least 30 days, according to a posting on the company’s open job listings.