The Colonial Pipeline Company shared an update on Monday following a cyberattack over the weekend, saying the company plans to “substantially” restore service by the end of the week.
The full statement is provided below:
“Colonial Pipeline continues to dedicate vast resources to restoring pipeline operations quickly and safely. Segments of our pipeline are being brought back online in a stepwise fashion, in compliance with relevant federal regulations and in close consultation with the Department of Energy, which is leading and coordinating the Federal Government’s response.
Restoring our network to normal operations is a process that requires the diligent remediation of our systems, and this takes time. In response to the cybersecurity attack on our system, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems. To restore service, we must work to ensure that each of these systems can be brought back online safely.
While this situation remains fluid and continues to evolve, the Colonial operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach. This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week. The Company will provide updates as restoration efforts progress.
We continue to evaluate product inventory in storage tanks at our facilities and others along our system and are working with our shippers to move this product to terminals for local delivery. Actions taken by the Federal Government to issue a temporary hours of service exemption for motor carriers and drivers transporting refined products across Colonial’s footprint should help alleviate local supply disruptions and we thank our government partners for their assistance in resolving this matter.
Our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience of the traveling public and the support we have received from the Federal Government and our peers throughout the industry.”
Colonial Pipeline provides thousands of gallons of gasoline and jet fuel to major airports including Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Airline companies could feel the impact most from the ransomware attack. Meanwhile, some drivers at the pump said the price of gas is already too high.
Sydney Graham is one of several people filling up their tank concerned that prices at the pump may go up.
“The prices are too high,” Graham said. “I am working two jobs out here just trying to support myself, pay gas, ride around in my car, it’s hard.”
Prices could increase as Colonial Pipeline works to regain full control of its network. The company closed the 5,500 hundred mile pipe that runs through 12 states including North Carolina. It transfers around 45 percent of all fuel consumed on the East Coast.
“I hope that they can come to an agreeance and get their stuff together because the prices are too high,” Graham said.
Experts said if the pipeline is not up and running in the next 24 hours that’s when we could start to see a 10, 20, or even 30 cent increase in gas prices.
Drivers like Lyla Wise said it’s already hard paying the price of gas right now during COVID. She used to pay $20 to fill up now it’s close to $50.
“It’s just like a dread to get gas, it’s been dreadful,” Wise said.
In a statement, the company said: “We proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our it systems. Upon learning of the issue, a leading, third-party cybersecurity firm was engaged, and they have already launched an investigation.”
Meanwhile, drivers already feeling the heat at the pump hope they won’t have to dig deeper into their pockets.
“Each cent makes a difference,” Graham said. “Whether it’s one penny to 10 cents, it makes a difference because it’s taking money out of people’s pockets that are already struggling right now.”
Right now, regular gas at the pump is around $2.79 a gallon in Charlotte. It’s only gone up a penny within the last 24 hours.