Virginia fuel leak shuts off part of colonial pipeline

DANVILLE, Virginia (AP) — A diesel fuel leak in Virginia has shut down part of the Colonial Pipeline, the nation’s largest fuel pipeline that supplies about half of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, but is expected to restart on Saturday, the company said. said.

The spill was discovered on Tuesday. And while that particular line is down, the rest of the system is working fine, company spokesman David Conti said in an email.

According to Patrick De Haan, head of oil analysis at GasBuddy, the incident should not affect gas prices much.

“The key being shouldn’t,” he said. “Obviously, Colonial is a key artery for refined products on the East Coast. It might be nothing. And it could turn into something” if normal operations don’t resume quickly.

One highlight is that demand for fuel has declined since the holidays, while a significant number of people are still working from home, De Haan said. Gasoline demand is about 10% less than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily the state of the economy, but it could be both,” he added.

Crews are repairing equipment that failed at a Witt booster station near Danville, Colonial said in a statement. The accident caused a leak that was discovered during a routine inspection of the station and appeared to be located at the property, Alpharetta, Georgia, said. The company did not say what caused the leak or how much liquid was spilled.

Aaron Proctor, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, wrote in an email that about 2,500 gallons (9,464 liters) of diesel were spilled.

According to Proctor, it was all in the area between the soil and the adjoining stormwater pond. There were no signs of impact on state waters or wildlife other than fish and animals living in the lagoon.

Colonial transports gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and household heating oil from Gulf Coast refineries through pipelines from Texas to New Jersey. Its pipeline system spans over 5,500 miles (8,850 kilometers), transporting over 100 million gallons (378 million liters) per day. The affected line is transporting about 885,000 barrels of product per day from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Linden, New Jersey, according to Danville Register & Bee.

In May 2021, the company went out of business temporarily after a ransomware attack.

The cut in fuel supplies for almost a week led to panic buying and shortages at gas stations from Washington, D.C. to Florida. The company said it paid a $4.4 million ransom to gain access to its data, and the Justice Department later announced that a ransomware task force had returned most of the ransom.

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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