Colonial Pipeline resumed operations late on Wednesday, the operator of America's main fuel pipeline said, but warned that a full return to normal deliveries after a ransomware attack forced a total shutdown on Friday would take a few more days.
"Colonial Pipeline reports this morning that the restart of the pipeline went well overnight. This should mean things will return to normal by the end of the weekend," U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm tweeted early on Thursday.
"Following this restart it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal," Colonial said in a statement.
"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," the pipeline operator added.
The main pipeline carrying gasoline and diesel to the U.S. East Coast shut down after a cyberattack late on Friday, sparking a run to gas stations and sending gasoline prices surging. As of May 13, the national average price of regular gasoline had jumped to $3.028 per gallon, topping the $3 mark for the first time since 2014.
After the cyberattack and the resulting outage, commodity traders booked at least six tankers—provisionally—to start shipping gasoline from Europe to the United States, Reuters reported on Monday, citing data from Refinitiv.
The pipeline outage led to panic buying and gas shortages in the East Coast, and more than a thousand fuel stations in the Southeast have sounded the alarm on gasoline and diesel shortages caused by panic buying and shuttered pipelines.
The more populated areas of the Southeast with gas shortages "will see relief starting today, but not every area will. This is not like flipping a switch. It's a 5,500 mile pipeline," Secretary Granholm said. Hopefully, the rural areas are expected to see normal supply by the end of this weekend, she added.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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