So … some pipelines are good.
The US government declared a state of emergency late on Sunday, lifting limits on the transport of fuels by road in a bid to keep gas supply lines open as fears of shortages spiked after the continued shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline.
“We’re realizing the gravity of it is maybe worse than what we’d expected,” said De Haan. “There’s still a little breathing room, we’re starting to run low on it. But Monday, Tuesday if there’s no news, you know we’re dealing with something fairly significant.”
“This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products and provides necessary relief,” the Department of Transportation said.
White House Press Sec Jen Psaki added that “as the Administration works to mitigate potential disruptions to supply as a result of the Colonial Pipeline incident, @USDOT is taking action today to allow flexibility for truckers in 17 states.”
The move lifted limits on the transport of fuels by road to ease the fallout from the continuing closure of the Colonial pipeline, which carries almost half the fuel consumed on the US East Coast, following a ransomware cyber attack on Friday.
The decision comes as the government scrambles to deal with the fallout from the closure of Colonial, the biggest refined products pipeline in the US, transporting 2.5m barrels of fuel a day from refineries on the Gulf Coast to markets such as Atlanta, Washington and New York (see more below).
If the pipeline is not quickly reopened the impact on prices could become more severe in the coming days, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at data provider GasBuddy. “We’re realizing the gravity of it is maybe worse than what we’d expected,” said De Haan. “There’s still a little breathing room, we’re starting to run low on it. But Monday, Tuesday if there’s no news, you know we’re dealing with something fairly significant.”
Just in case the US didn’t already have a “transitory hyperinflation” problem, gasoline futures soared more than 4% – and are likely to jump much more – late on Sunday after the Colonial Pipeline announced that while some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational, its mainlines (Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4) remain offline since late Friday after the company suffered a crippling cyberattack that affected its key IT systems.
Colonial operates Line 1 for gasoline and Line 2 for diesel and jet fuel from Pasadena, Texas, some 15 miles from the nation’s largest refineries, to Greensboro, North Carolina, at a combined 2.5 million barrels a day. They merge at Greensboro to feed a line carrying about 900,000 barrels a day into New York Harbor, and other East Coast pipelines.