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Colonial Pipeline confirms restart after Hurricane Ida

Highlights

Colonial Lines 1 and 2 were closed ahead of Ida

More than 2 million b/d of oil refining capacity offline

More than 1 million electricity customers without power

Colonial Pipeline confirmed it successfully restarted the pipeline late Aug. 30 after completing safety assessments in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, restoring the country's primary fuel artery for much of the Southeast and the East Coast.

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Colonial Pipeline had temporarily shut Lines 1 and 2 from Houston to Greensboro, North Carolina, ahead of the Category 4 Ida. Colonial's Lines 3 and 4 from North Carolina to New Jersey never ceased operations.

Colonial said Aug. 31 that its Lines 1 and 2 were restored before midnight Aug. 30 after completing all restart protocols. The crews followed rigorous procedures to inspect the infrastructure for integrity, it said. The major hurricane swept through Louisiana Aug. 29.

"This quick turnaround was made possible thanks to our employees' continued dedication to safety and excellence in everything they do," said Wes Dunbar, Colonial vice president of operations, in an Aug. 31 statement. "We also would not have had the success we are seeing today without the coordination from our local, state and federal partners, and the strong relationships we have built with them up and down the pipeline."

Colonial Pipeline typically delivers more than 100 million gal/d of fuels. Colonial stretches more than 5,500 miles from the Houston refining hub to New York Harbor, supplying about 45% of all the gasoline and diesel fuel consumed on the US East Coast.

Product typically moves at 3 to 5 mph through the pipeline.

Assuming Colonial comes back online as scheduled, there will not be any fuel shortages unless supplies are exacerbated by panic buying, said fuel analyst Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy.com.

Colonial added that fuel supplied had continued to be available throughout the Southeast from the numerous terminals located along the supply route.

Hurricane Ida devastated much of southern Louisiana and Mississippi Aug. 29, leaving well more than 1 million electricity customers without power for the foreseeable future.

In advance of the storm, about 95% of the US Gulf's oil and gas production was shut-in, and roughly 2.2 million b/d of oil refining capacity was closed.

This was the first major disruption for Colonial since May, when the entire pipeline was temporarily shut down because of a ransomware cyberattack.