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Fuel shortages continue in US southeast after major pipeline resumes operation

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-05-16 07:18
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An Exxon station is seen out of gas after a cyberattack crippled the biggest fuel pipeline in the country, run by Colonial Pipeline, in Washington, US, May 15, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - There are still widespread fuel shortages as of Saturday in the southeastern parts of the United States, where the major fuel supplier Colonial Pipeline Co. announced a return of its entire system to normal operations on Thursday after a ransomware attack forced the company to shut its network for almost a week.

In Washington DC, the nation's capital, 80 percent of gas stations are without fuel, according to the latest data from GasBuddy, an app that tracks fuel prices and demand. In North Carolina 63 percent of stations are in shortage, in Georgia and South Carolina more than 40 percent, and in Virginia 38 percent.

The company said on Saturday that its pipeline is now delivering millions of gallons of fuel each hour to serve all markets, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The cyber attack had forced the company to shut down approximately 5,500 miles of pipeline one week ago and triggered widespread fuel shortages in the southeast and panic buying in some states.

Colonial carries nearly half of the fuel supply on the East Coast, including gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil and jet fuel. The company initially restarted operations around 5 pm ET on Wednesday but warned that the pipeline would not be fully functional immediately.

The company said it would invest in the necessary resources to maintain safe and reliable pipeline operations.

"Since this incident began, we have been clear that our focus was on the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system," the company said in a tweet. "That is what we have achieved through the commitment and dedication of the many Colonial team members."

"Our team members across the pipeline worked safely and tirelessly around the clock to get our lines up and running, and we are grateful for their dedicated service and professionalism during these extraordinary times," it added.

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