There is currently no information on when service in the pipeline will be restored, and “the number of days that the line is out of service is critical,” Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks gas prices at 140,000 US stations, told CNN Business.
Colonial Pipeline executives have fully acknowledged the security breach, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations and impacted IT systems.
Andy Lipow, Houston-based oil consultant and President of Lipow Oil Associates, emphasized that the timeline is crucial. “Two days can be made up in orderly fashion,” he said of the current shutdown. Five days, however, could be a much more significant blow to logistics.
The attack could also trigger challenges for jet fuel deliveries, Kloza said. Many major East Coast airports maintain only three to five days worth of inventory, so a two to five day suspension of a pipeline that in some cases moves fuel directly to major airports — such as Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Airport — can have a dramatic impact.