The Colonial Pipeline has returned to operations following a cyberattack that snarled gas supply for the eastern U.S. for days, according to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
“Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal,” Colonial Pipeline said in a statement. “Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to 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 statement added.
“Tonight’s announcement means there’s an end in sight for the supply disruptions that have affected States across the Southeast,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “As Colonial Pipeline works to safely and fully resume operations over the next few days, we will stay in close contact with the company and will continue to offer any assistance needed—as we have done since the outset of this shutdown on Friday.”
Hackers had demanded millions in ransom money – which the pipeline operator refused to pay, enlisting help from the Department of Energy, as well as federal, state and local authorities instead. Earlier this week, the company had resumed partial operations under manual control, according to a Wednesday statement from Deputy Energy Secretary Dave Turk.
Colonial said safety would be its “primary focus” following the restart. The pipeline operator will conduct a series of safety assessments to comply with federal guidelines.
“This is the first step in the restart process and would not have been possible without the around-the-clock support of Colonial Pipeline’s dedicated employees who have worked tirelessly to help us achieve this milestone,” the company said.
The ransomware attack, attributed to this Russian hacking group Darkside, targeted a 5,500-mile pipeline responsible for more than 100 million gallons of fuel a day – nearly half of the East Coast’s supply.
The pipeline was forced to shut down some of its systems last Friday in response to the ransomware attack. The shutdown impacted fuel deliveries and triggered instances of panic-buying amid concerns of a shortage. Several governors declared states of emergency in response to the crisis.