No shortage of gasoline expected in Michigan, despite pipeline shutdown

Colonial Pipeline storage tanks are seen in Woodbridge, N.J., Monday, May 10, 2021. Gasoline futures are ticking higher following a cyberextortion attempt on the Colonial Pipeline, a vital U.S. pipeline that carries fuel from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
Colonial Pipeline storage tanks are seen in Woodbridge, N.J., Monday, May 10, 2021. Gasoline futures are ticking higher following a cyberextortion attempt on the Colonial Pipeline, a vital U.S. pipeline that carries fuel from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The shutdown of a major pipeline on the East Coast due to a cyberattack will not impact automotive fuel supply in Michigan, officials said on Wednesday.

The Colonial Pipeline, the biggest fuel pipeline in the U.S., delivering about 45% of what is consumed on the East Coast, was hit on Friday with a cyberattack by hackers who lock up computer systems and demand a ransom to release them.

More than 1,000 gas stations in the Southeast reporting low or no fuel because of panic-buying among drivers.

Michigan Public Service Commission Chair Dan Scripps released a statement on the situation on Wednesday:

“The MPSC is closely monitoring the situation on the East Coast but doesn’t anticipate shortages of automotive fuel in Michigan,” Scripps said. “We are also continuing to monitor price impacts, particularly as gasoline prices typically increase this time of year as we head towards Memorial Day and the summer driving season. While we know of no related threats to Michigan utilities or pipeline operators, Michigan’s energy companies are on heightened alert and have increased their monitoring and security measures, and the Commission has been in regular communication on these efforts. Michigan’s preparedness to deal with cyberattacks was one of the topics covered in the Commission’s 2019 Statewide Energy Assessment, and the MPSC’s cybersecurity staff conducts annual security meetings with Michigan electric utilities and will begin similar meetings with Michigan gas utilities this year.”

A large part of the pipeline resumed operations manually late Monday, and Colonial anticipates restarting most of its operations by the end of the week, U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said.

The pipeline runs from the Texas Gulf Coast to the New York metropolitan area. The states most dependent on the pipeline include Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.


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Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.