US says fuel supplies should be ‘back to normal’ by the weekend as key pipeline restarts after cyberattack

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Signs reading “out of gas” cover screens on pumps at a gas station on May 12, 2021 near Four Oaks, North Carolina. Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images

  • The Colonial Pipeline began resuming service Wednesday evening.
  • With that, the US Secretary of Energy said “things will be back to normal” by the end of the weekend.
  • The pipeline, which transports 45% of the fuel used by the East Coast, shut down last week following a cyberattack.
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The Colonial Pipeline is back up and running with full operations expected by this weekend, which should bring gas shortages in part sparked by panic buying to an end.

The Colonial Pipeline, the top US fuel pipeline, restarted Wednesday evening, and reported “product delivery has commenced in a majority of the markets we service.”

The successful restart “should mean things will return to normal by the end of the weekend,” US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said on Twitter Thursday.

“Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal,” the company said Wednesday evening. “Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period.”

The pipeline shutdown operations last week after Russian ransomware group DarkSide hacked the company’s systems and demanded money.

The company took the pipeline – which runs from Texas to the New York -area and supplies 45% of the East Coast’s fuel -offline following the attack. A private cybersecurity firm hired by Colonial and the federal government are probing the incident.

Colonial has “made substantial progress in safely restarting our pipeline system,” the company said Thursday in a statement. “By mid-day today, we project that each market we service will be receiving product from our system.”

A few remaining segments of the line will begin operating at 12 p.m. ET, the company said.

Amid the shutdown, some people resorted to panic-buying fuel. Long lines stretched around gas stations, more than 1,000 stations in the US ran dry, and the price of gas surged. Most of the shortages remained on the east coast, especially in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, a GasBuddy analyst reported.

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