Major Energy Pipeline To US East Coast Shut Down After Cyberattack

Major Energy Pipeline To US East Coast Shut Down After Cyberattack

Photo by M Mitchell on Unsplash.

A cyberattack has forced Colonial Pipeline to halt operations of its 5,500 miles of pipeline, which transports approximately 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast.

What Happened

Colonial Pipeline, one of the largest pipeline operators in the U.S., said in a statement that it took certain systems offline on Friday and temporarily halted all pipeline operations after learning that it was a victim of a cyberattack. Colonial has engaged a third-party cybersecurity firm to launch an investigation, and federal authorities and law enforcement have also been contacted. 

"At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation. This process is already underway, and we are working diligently to address this matter and to minimize disruption to our customers and those who rely on Colonial Pipeline," the statement read.

It is the biggest gasoline pipeline in the U.S., and the disruption could affect supplies of both gasoline and diesel fuel, according to Bloomberg. Bloomberg also reported that the attack has the hallmarks of a ransomware group called DarkSide, though Colonial has not confirmed this group was behind the attack.

Colonial Pipeline is a private company owned by CDPQ Colonial Partners, LP; IFM (US) Colonial Pipeline 2, LLC; KKR-Keats Pipeline Investors, LP; Koch Capital Investments Company, LLC; and Shell Midstream Operating, LLC, according to the company's website. Publicly traded parent companies in that mix include private equity giant KKR & Co (KKR) and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RYDAF).

Why It Matters

Colonial transports approximately 45% of all fuel consumed by the East Coast. A shutdown could hit energy markets in the coming days. The company’s pipeline transports 2.5 million barrels each day, taking refined gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast up to New York Harbor through 5,500 miles of pipelines.

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