The Colonial Pipeline transports 2.5 million barrels a day, accounting for 45 percent of the East Coast’s diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel supply. On Friday, a cybercriminal group took it down entirely, and it is still working to restore service. The emergency status relaxes the rules for transporting fuel by lane.
It means that drivers transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products in 18 states will work longer or more flexible hours. Fuel prices are expected to rise 2-3 percent on Monday, according to experts, but the effect would be much worse if the trend continues. According to independent oil market analyst Gaurav Sharma, there is a lot of fuel stranded at refineries in Texas right now.
The Department of Transportation has granted a temporary waiver that allows oil products to be transported in tankers up to New York, but Mr. Sharma warns that this will not be enough to meet the Pipeline potential. The ransomware attack was carried out by a cybercriminal group known as DarkSide, which breached Colonial’s network on Thursday and took nearly 100GB of data hostage, according to multiple reports.
The hackers locked the data on some computers and servers after seizing it and demanded a ransom on Friday. They are threatening to post it on the internet if it is not charged. Colonial said it is working to restore service with law enforcement, cyber-security experts, and the Department of Energy.