The US government has declared a regional emergency over the hack at oil pipeline company Colonial Pipeline. This gives the Ministry of Transport wider possibilities to deal with petrol, diesel, and kerosene shortages.
Colonial shut down all its pipelines after a hack Friday, including a major supply line to the US east coast. This accounts for almost half of all fuels that go to that part of the country.
Colonial was hacked on Thursday, although it only came out a day later. The hackers use ransomware and demand money to release the systems. In addition, they would have stolen data that they threaten to disclose if the company does not pay. As a precaution, the pipeline operator shut down several IT systems, meaning that the pipelines can no longer be used.
Colonial still can’t give a time for reopening, but a state of emergency now allows the fuel to be transported by road in 17 states and in the capital Washington, DC. Transport by train is also possible. This is not a solution for the longer term because if the closure lasts longer than five days, market experts expect shortages.
The main pipeline from Colonial to the East Coast runs from the Gulf of Mexico coast to Linden in New Jersey, near New York. On the way, for example, the Atlanta airport, one of the busiest in the world, is also visited. From Houston to North Carolina, the company can send 2.5 million barrels of oil per day through the pipeline. Up to the endpoint, this is approximately 900,000 barrels daily.