Mon. Jun 21st, 2021
From <a href="https://www.zerohedge.com/"Zero Hedge

Colonial Pipeline Restarts Operations After Ransomware Attack

Update (1720 ET): Colonial Pipeline said on Wednesday afternon that they would restart pipeline operations at 5pm per Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

According to the company, “Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal.

Full statement below:

Colonial Pipeline initiated the restart of pipeline operations today at approximately 5 p.m. ET.

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

As we initiate our return to service, our primary focus remains safety. As part of this startup process, Colonial will conduct a comprehensive series of pipeline safety assessments in compliance with all Federal pipeline safety requirements.

This is the first step in the restart process and would not have been possible without the around-the-clock support of Colonial Pipeline’s dedicated employees who have worked tirelessly to help us achieve this milestone. We would also like to thank the White House for their leadership and collaboration, as well as the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, FBI, PHMSA, FERC and other federal, state and local agencies for their ongoing support.

We will continue to provide updates as restart efforts progress.

*  *  *

Update (1612 ET): Colonial Pipeline has no plans to pay ransom to hackers to restore its paralyzed pipeline system, according to WaPo, citing two people familiar with the matter. Instead, the company is working with cybersecurity firm Mandiant to restore data from backup systems.

What this means is the Colonial pipeline system that spans from Texas to New Jersey has yet to be restored. 

Throughout the day, we’ve been citing figures from tracking firm GasBuddy who reports the current percent of gas stations with fuel outages per state is rapidly increasing by the hour. If Colonial’s systems are not restored soon, the shortage of fuel could turn into an economic disaster, seizing local economies up and down the East Coast. 

Analyzing how long the pipeline outage could be before it leads to an even sharper jump in gasoline prices, Goldman’s Callum Bruce wrote the following:

The Colonial pipeline remains offline five days after a ransomware cyberattack, with guidance for a full restart by the weekend and a decision expected later today (Wednesday, May 12). While the disruption is meaningful for local retail markets, its impact is still likely to be transient as there is no physical damage to the pipeline. While retail prices are surging, RBOB prices have not with prompt timespreads back to pre-disruption levels, as the prompt contract reflects June delivered barrels when stocks will have replenished. In turn, RBOB timespreads and cracks will rally if the pipeline remains offline for another week, as June inventories will be impacted

* * * 

Update (1427ET): Tracking firm GasBuddy reports the current percent of gas stations with fuel outages per state: 

  • AL 7%
  • WASH DC 10%
  • FL 11%
  • GA 43%
  • KY 2%
  • MD 11%
  • MS 5%
  • NC 65%
  • SC 43%
  • TN 16%
  • VA 44%
  • WV 4%

* * * 

Update (1330ET): Even before the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, the company searched for a cyber-security chief, according to Bloomberg

Colonial posted a job listing on LinkedIn and other job-seeking websites detailing the need for someone with a master’s degree in computer science to develop and support “an incident response plan and processes to address potential threats.”

h/t Bloomberg

“The cybersecurity position was not created due to the recent ransomware attack,” Colonial told Bloomberg in an email. “We have several positions open as part of our longer-term growth strategy around talent, as we are constantly recruiting top-tier talent across all functional areas of our business.”

The ransomware attack has entered the fifth day, severing almost half of the gasoline and diesel supply for the East Coast. Seventeen states and Washington, DC, declared emergency declarations to address fuel shortages. 

The emergency declaration covers Alabama, Arkansas, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. 

The company will provide more guidance on when the pipeline will restart by the end of the day. 

* * * 

Update (1300ET): Tracking firm GasBuddy reports gas shortages across the Southeast US continue to worsen by the hour. 

Here is the current percent of gas stations with fuel outages per state: 

  • GA – 42%
  • AL – 6%
  • TN – 14%
  • SC – 42%
  • NC – 65%
  • FL – 10%
  • VA – 42%
  • MD – 9%
  • MS – 5%
  • WV – 4%
  • KY – 2%
  • DC – 8%

* * * 

Update (1220ET): Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was quoted by Reuters as saying his department is working to “move fuel to places that need it.” He said the federal government is “doing everything it can do to reduce the impact of Colonial disruption of Americans at the pump.” 

Colonial Pipeline is set to address federal officials with timetables of when it will restart gasoline and diesel flows by late Wednesday

* * * 

Update (1145ET): Tracking firm GasBuddy reports gas shortages across the Southeast US are worsening by the hour. 

Here is the current percent of gas stations with fuel outages per state: 

  • GA 17.5% 
  • AL 2.1%
  • TN 3.6% 
  • SC 16.2% 
  • NC 28.2% 
  • FL 4.6%
  • VA 17.1% 
  • MD 4.1% 
  • NEWLY ADDED MS 1.7% 
  • NEWLY ADDED WV 2.8%

The shortage has also pushed up the average US price of gasoline above the $3 mark for the first time in 6.5 years. 

* * * 

Update (1130ET): The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC) is out with a new warning Wednesday, advising people who panic hoard gasoline “not to fill plastic bags” with fuel and to “only use approved” containers. 

The warning comes after several stupid people were caught on camera filling plastic bags with gasoline. 

USCPSC went on to say that it’s common sense to use an approved gasoline container, “but when people get desperate, they stop thinking clearly.” 

Just like the people below: 

Idiot. 

Another idiot. 

See, these people are doing it right, using approved government cans – not bags. 

Anyways, panic hoarding fuel then packing it into a car doesn’t seem safe, especially if you’re a smoker.  

* * * 

Gas stations from Florida to Virginia ran dry, and prices at the pump skyrocketed late Tuesday, as the hack attack on the biggest U.S. fuel pipeline extends into the fifth day. 

On Tuesday evening, 17 states and Washington, DC declared emergency declarations to address fuel shortages. 

The emergency declaration covers Alabama, Arkansas, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. 

The Biden administration projected that the Colonial Pipeline would restart by the weekend and urged drivers not to panic hoard fuel. 

“We are asking people not to hoard,” U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters at the White House. “Things will be back to normal soon.”

Colonial has said progress is being made and expects to restart a large portion of the pipeline later this week into the weekend. 

“Markets experiencing supply constraints and/or not serviced by other fuel delivery systems are being prioritized,” Colonial said in a statement.

Colonial Pipeline

A ransomware attack on Colonial last Friday underscores the vulnerability of critical U.S. infrastructure to cyberattacks, which has already resulted in people across the Southeast panic hoarding fuel. 

Tracking firm GasBuddy reported widespread shortages of fuel at gas stations across southeastern states. For instance, it said 40% of filling stations across the Atlanta metro area without fuel. 

GasBuddy shares fuel shortage data of other metros:  

  • 71% of stations in metro Charlotte are without gasoline.
  • Over 61% of Wilmington, NC gas stations are without gasoline.
  • 72% of gas stations in metro Raleigh are without gasoline.
  • 37% of Myrtle Beach gas stations are without gasoline.
  • Nearly 60% of stations in Norfolk are without gasoline.
  • Nearly 60% of gas stations in metro Atlanta are without gasoline, but that number has held steady since 1am or so.
  • Amongst AL, GA, FL, SC, NC, MD and VA, nearly 1,800 stations are currently out of gasoline.

As of midnight, GasBuddy shows the percentage of filling stations in each state without gasoline.

  • GA 15.4%
  • AL 1.8%
  • TN 2.8%
  • SC 13.4%
  • NC 24.8%
  • FL 4.2%
  • VA 15.0%
  • MD 3.5%

To mitigate even more shortages, the Biden administration said Tuesday it has started mulling over the idea of a temporary waiver of the Jones Act, a U.S. shipping law, to offset shortages. 

The Environmental Protection Agency also issued an emergency fuel waiver on Tuesday for refiners to reformulate gasoline in the Mid-Atlantic area. The waiver extends through May 18 for fuel sold in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Pennsylvania. 

The attack on Colonial “is potentially the most substantial and damaging attack on U.S. critical infrastructure ever,” Ohio Senator Rob Portman told a Senate hearing on cybersecurity threats on Tuesday.

The FBI accused hack group DarkSide of the ransomware attack. The narrative already being spun is that the group is Russian or Eastern Europe. Besides Colonial, the hackers launched attacks on 24 other companies in various industries. 

Colonial Pipeline told federal officials it would have a better idea when it will restart gasoline and diesel flows by late Wednesday. Let’s hope it’s by the end of this week or, at the latest, this weekend – because if shortages continue – people will get angry. Remember what happened when stores ran out of toilet paper during the pandemic?

Tyler Durden
Wed, 05/12/2021 – 17:19

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