The scheduling system for the US' largest oil pipeline went down just days after re-opening

The scheduling system for the US' largest oil pipeline went down just days after re-opening
·2 min read
Colonial Pipeline
Trucks line up at a Colonial Pipeline facility. Jay Reeves/AP
  • The nation's largest oil pipeline is having issues with its scheduling system for future shipments.

  • Colonial Pipeline's network was down Tuesday just days after the pipeline reopened from a week-long shutdown.

  • Last week's cyberattack pushed gas prices to a seven-year high and caused fuel shortages.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Colonial Pipeline is having network issues preventing shippers from planning upcoming shipments of fuel, the company said on Tuesday, just after the system reopened after a week-long ransomware attack.

Last week's closure of the 5,500-mile (8,900-km) system was the most disruptive cyberattack on record, preventing millions of barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from flowing to the East Coast from the Gulf Coast.

Colonial has been using its shipper nomination system to schedule batches of fuel deliveries to bring flows back to normal. A prolonged network outage could prevent shippers from scheduling deliveries - which would hamper fuel delivery across the U.S. southeast and east coasts just after the line reopened.

It was not immediately clear why the system was down or when it would be fixed. Colonial did not say when the issue would be fixed.

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After the ransomware attack forced Colonial to shut its entire network, thousands of gas stations across the U.S. southeast ran out of fuel. Motorists fearing prolonged shortages raced to fill up their cars.

Colonial's shipping nomination system is operated by a third party, privately-held Transport4, or T4, which handles similar logistics for other pipeline companies. T4 could not say when the issue would be fixed, and did not comment on whether its systems for other pipelines were affected.

As of Tuesday, more than 10,600 filling stations were still without fuel, according to tracking firm GasBuddy, down from more than 16,000 at the peak last week.

Despite the nomination issues, market sources familiar with the matter said barrels currently in the line are continuing to flow.

In North Carolina, one of the hardest-hit states, gas outages dropped below 50% on Tuesday, GasBuddy said. South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia all also had outages below 50%.

About 70% of gas stations in Washington, D.C., were still without fuel, down from around 90% over the weekend.

"The number of stations without gasoline is likely to drop under 10,000 today," said GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan on Tuesday.

(Reporting By Stephanie Kelly, Laura Sanicola, Jessica Resnick-Ault and Devika Krishna Kumar; Editing by Franklin Paul, Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)

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