U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday urged Americans not to hoard gasoline as the operator of a main U.S. fuel pipeline is expected to fully resume operations in a few days after it was forced to shut down due to a cybersecurity attack.
"The White House and the Department of Energy have been leading an interagency response to the Colonial Pipeline hack," Granholm said at a White House press briefing.
"I've had several conversations with the CEO of Colonial, who has indicated that by close of business tomorrow, Colonial will be in a position to make the full restart decision. But even after that decision is made, it will take a few days to ramp up operations," she said.
Granholm noted that the current supply crunch is in the areas that are affected by the pipeline, predominantly the Southeast, such as the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and southern Virginia.
"In this particular region that's where we're gonna see the crunch... we know that we have gasoline. We just have to get it to the right places," she said, urging Americans not to hoard gasoline.
"There should be no cause for hoarding gasoline, especially in light of the fact that the pipeline should be substantially operational by the end of this week," said the energy secretary, noting one of the pipeline's major lines had resumed normal operations under manual control.
"It's not that we have a gasoline shortage. It's that we have this supply crunch. And that things will be back to normal soon," she said.
Colonial Pipeline, operator of the pipeline carrying gasoline and diesel fuel to U.S. east and southeast parts, said on Tuesday that the company continues to make forward progress toward returning its pipeline system to service after temporarily halting all operations due to a cybersecurity attack detected last week.
"Since our pipeline system was taken offline, working with our shippers, Colonial has delivered approximately 967,000 barrels to various delivery points along our system," the company said in a statement.
"Additionally, in preparation for our system restart, we have taken delivery of an additional 2 million barrels from refineries for deployment upon restart," the company said.