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Colonial Pipeline to Return to Service in Phases

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Colonial Pipeline Co. has begun a process to bring its system back online following a cyber attack on May 7. The company announced May 10 that its operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach. 

Colonial Pipeline shut down its 5,500-mile pipeline on Friday after ransomware was discovered in the operator’s computer system. The pipeline carries approximately 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) as it supplies roughly 45 percent of the East Coast’s diesel, gasoline and jet fuel. The cyber-attack has been attributed to a criminal group.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on May 8 issued a regional emergency declaration in 17 states and Washington, D.C., in response to the shutdown, lifting restrictions for motor carriers and drivers assisting areas that are experiencing shortages.

Colonial Pipeline announced that that one of its main lines, Line 4, which runs from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Woodbine, Maryland, is operating under manual control for a limited period of time while existing inventory is available. The company is developing a plan to restart Lines 1, 2 and 3.

“As previously announced, while our main lines continue to be offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational as well,” the May 10 company statement said. “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.”

Colonial Pipeline is continuing to work in partnership with third-party cybersecurity experts, law enforcement and other federal agencies to restore pipeline operations quickly and safely.

“Our primary focus remains 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,” the company said. “We will continue to provide updates as restoration efforts progress.”

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