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Colonial Pipeline Co., a vital fuel transporter in the Southeast U.S., has restored operations following a temporary shutdown during Hurricane Ida, likely alleviating concerns about a new round of gas shortages in the region.
The Colonial Pipeline Co. said Aug. 31 that it had restored service on two lines running from Houston to Greensboro, N.C., that had been taken offline in advance of the storm.
The company said service resumed late Aug. 30.
The pipeline carries oil and gas products from facilities along the Gulf Coast to the Southeast U.S. for distribution to retail outlets.
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“After receiving clearance to enter the impacted areas, the crews followed rigorous procedures to inspect the infrastructure for integrity and completed all restart protocols,” Colonial said in a statement.
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Awareness of the Colonial Pipeline’s role in American energy security was heightened in May, when the company was the victim of a ransomware attack.
The attack caused a temporary shutdown that triggered panic buying, leading to fuel shortages at gas stations along the East Coast for days.
Hurricane Ida is expected to have an effect on the nation’s fuel infrastructure and consumption.
Multiple major gas refineries halted operations due to the storm. And about 96% of the oil production in the Gulf of Mexico was temporarily shuttered, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
As the storm subsides, refineries and oil rigs will begin to assess damages. The outcome of those assessments could lead to additional downtime.
“The biggest concern is probably not so much the wind but the flooding,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “Refineries are built pretty solid right now, but one thing they can’t really plan around is the rain.”
He predicted that the national average price of gasoline would increase by 5-15 cents within the next two weeks.
The Aug. 31 average was $3.16, up 1 cent from a week earlier, according to AAA.
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