NORTH CAROLINA, May 13, 2021 (UPI) — Colonial Pipeline announced Wednesday that it had begun restarting operations after it was shut down for five days due to a cyberattack, prompting fuel price hikes and gas shortages.
The company, which operates the largest fuel pipeline in the United States, said in a statement that it initiated the restart of pipeline operations at about 5 p.m., adding it will take “several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal” and that some markets may experience “intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period.”
“Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal,” the company said.
In its statement, Colonial thanked the White House for its “leadership and collaboration in resolving this matter, and U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm tweeted that she had spoken with the company’s CEO about the restart.
The shutdown was the result of a ransomware attack by the hacker gang DarkSide, which President Joe Biden said Monday appears to operate in Russia.
Colonial chose not to pay the ransom sought by hackers to undo the effects of the attack and hired Mandiant, a Virginia-based cybersecurity firm, to respond to the incident.
The cyberattack led to increases in gas prices at the start of this week and led several states to declare states of emergency to combat shortages as people rushed to the pumps.
As of Wednesday evening 69% of gas stations in North Carolina were without fuel, along with 52% in Virginia, 46% in Georgia and 48% in South Carolina, according to fuel industry tracker GasBuddy.