Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm appeared at a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday and took questions about the gas crisis caused by a cyber attack against a major pipeline.
“I just have a question for each of you. I’ll start with you, Secretary Granholm, because ladies first,” a reporter asked. “Obviously, we have the acute issues with the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack. But looking more holistically in a macro view, how does this speed up the efforts at DOE to move in more of a renewable direction since this is going to have an impact on people at the pump?”
“Yeah, I mean, we obviously are ‘all in’ on making sure that we meet the president’s goals of getting to 100% clean electricity by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” Granholm said. “And, you know, if you drive an electric car, this would not be affecting you, clearly. “
“But it’s just — it’s another — it’s — I don’t want to — this company is acting in a responsible way,” Granholm said. “They took their pipeline down so that the ransomware would not spread. And so, up to this point, they have — they’re carefully reviewing so that they’re doing this in a responsible way.”
While Colonial Pipeline’s operations have resumed, at least in part, it will take more than two weeks for gasoline in Houston to reach many sites on the East Coast, according to new reports.
“Transit times for gasoline to pass through Colonial’s network of pipelines that allow oil products to flow from the U.S. Gulf Coast, up to its North Carolina hub, and then on to New York Harbor, is 14 days and 16 hours, at a speed of about 5 miles per hour, according to the most recent schedule sent to shippers,” Bloomberg News reported. “Diesel and jet fuel, heavier and more dense products, need about 19 days to make the same trip that spans about 1,600 miles through the busiest pipeline system in America.”
Colonial on Friday was hit with a cyberattack that forced the closure of the 5,500-mile pipeline, which moves more than 100 million gallons of fuel from Texas to New Jersey every day — nearly 50% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast. The company suspended all operations since the attack, but on Thursday issued a statement saying operations have resumed.
The company said it “has made substantial progress in safely restarting our pipeline system and can report that product delivery has commenced in a majority of the markets we service.”
GasBuddy analyst Patrick De Haan said he expects shortages to get worse over the next two days, writing on Twitter: “While the Colonial Pipeline is restarting, the outage numbers may drift higher over the next 48 hours before then beginning to fall.”
De Haan, though, had a shorter timeline than Bloomberg. “About 7-14 days of headaches if you need fuel in GA, NC, SC or VA. The situation will definitely take time and slowly improve due to a high number of outages and higher number of stations to refuel,” he tweeted.
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