Gasoline Shortages Still Lingering Post-Colonial Pipeline Hack

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The gasoline shortages in America’s Southeast are shrinking, but two weeks after the Colonial Pipeline went offline due to a hack, some drivers are still finding it hard to locate gasoline.  

According to GasBuddy, roughly 30% of all retail gas stations in North Carolina, South Caroline, and George were out of gasoline. Virginia and Tennessee were also experiencing significant outages. 

Colonial Pipeline’s main line that carries gasoline and diesel to the U.S. East Coast shut down after a ransomware attack earlier this month. More than a thousand fuel stations in the Southeast were out of gasoline and diesel caused by panic buying and shuttered pipelines. Even people in Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, were rushing to fill up their tanks as news of dry gas stations surfaced. 

Colonial Pipeline paid a nearly $5 million in ransom in the form of an untraceable cryptocurrency to the hackers. 

The pipeline company began to restart the downed line on May 13, but warned that full-delivery volumes would take a few extra days. 

But two weeks after the shutdown, and some gas stations are still experiencing significant outages. 

Still, purchasing trends are “starting” to return to normal in most markets, retail-price tracker GetUpside’s data shows, according to Bloomberg

In Georgia, the average price of a retail gallon of regular gasoline was $2.944 as of Friday, according to AAA data, up from $2.708 a month ago before the pipeline incident. 

In North Carolina, Friday’s average price for regular gasoline was $2.929 per gallon, compared to $2.627 a month ago. 

U.S. gasoline consumption is nearing pre-pandemic levels and is now down just 4% in the four weeks for May 14 compared to the pre-pandemic five-year average, according to Reuters. 

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com 

Tanzania and Uganda have signed a fifth and final government agreement that will greenlight the construction of a $3.5-billion pipeline that will carry crude pumped in western Uganda to the coast of Tanzania and international markets. 

The agreement follows another one, signed with partners French Total and Chinese CNOOC last month. 

The East-African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project will be a 1,443 kilometer-long (897 miles) pipeline expected to transport oil from Uganda to the Tanga port in Tanzania. Total’s subsidiary, Total East Africa Midstream is the developer of the project. 

Uganda’s oil fields could give Total and CNOOC access to more than a billion barrels of crude and will cost some $5.1 billion to develop. The oil, however, is viscous, so the pipeline will need to be heated in order to keep it liquid enough to flow. This will make the EACOP the world’s largest heated oil pipeline. 

According to Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, the reserves in the Lake Albert fields that Total and CNOOC are operating, currently estimated at 6.5 billion barrels of oil, could be a lot greater, Tanzania Daily News noted in a recent report

Yet the pipeline could become crucial for more countries with as of yet untapped oil reserves, according to the Ugandan president, with Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo among them, along with South Sudan, which is already an oil producer. 

Construction works on the pipeline should begin quickly and last about 36 months, according to Tanzanian officials, despite strong opposition from environmentalist groups. 

In March, a group of 260 organizations wrote an open letter to 25 banks calling on them to not take part in the $2.5-billion loan financing for the EACOP project, which, according to them, was “manifestly irresponsible”. The signatories to the letter also noted the threats that the infrastructure would pose to local communities, water supplies, and biodiversity. Further, they said that the project would “either prove financially unviable or produce unacceptable climate harm.” 

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com 

 

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