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Parts of the pipeline between Houston and Selma, SC, and Baltimore and its endpoint in Linden, NJ, are already operational, the company said. The stretch between North Carolina and Northern Virginia is expected to go online later today, the company said.
Colonial’s announcement that it had succeeded in restarting much of the pipeline came the morning after the process began, although drivers still have to wait for trucks to deliver fuel from the pipeline’s storage terminals to gas stations. The Biden government has been working to address a fuel shortage that has spread throughout the southeast as drivers are draining gas from the pumps faster than the vans can bring in new supplies.
There will be “about 7-14 days of headache if you need fuel in GA, NC, SC, or VA,” wrote GasBuddy market analyst Patrick De Haan on twitter this morning of the situation. In other states in the region, tight deliveries could take less time, he added.
“The situation will definitely take time and slowly improve due to a high number of failures and a higher number of gas stations,” wrote De Haan.
Also early Thursday, the Homeland Security Department announced that it had approved his Request from an unidentified company to waive the shipping regulations that prohibit the use of foreign vessels for shipments between domestic ports. The fuel industry had requested such exemptions, saying it would accelerate the transportation of gasoline from refineries to markets along the Atlantic coast.
“In the interests of national defense, I approved a temporary and targeted application for exemption for a single company,” said Alejandro Mayorkas, Minister for Homeland Security.
“This exemption will help ensure the transportation of oil products between Gulf Coast and East Coast ports to ease oil supply constraints resulting from the colonial pipeline disruption.”
The 5,500-mile pipeline, which supplies almost half of the fuel to the east coast, was shut down on Friday in a cyber attack by the Russian hacker group DarkSide.
The failure led to a spate of panic buying among drivers who queued at gas stations and ultimately led to massive fuel shortages. Congress has called for greater attention to cybersecurity in the country’s energy infrastructure.
President Joe Biden is expected to comment on the pipeline incident around noon Thursday.