Colonial Flows From Houston Still Running Under Half-Capacity

Fuel flowing out of Houston on American’s largest petroleum pipeline remained at less than half of capacity a week after a cyber attack halted the conduit.

Gasoline and other refined products on the Colonial Pipeline were heading into the Southeast U.S. at a rate of 20,000 to 35,000 barrels per hour on Friday, according to people familiar with the matter.

That’s about one-third of capacity and a decrease from 50,000 barrels late Thursday, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information was commercially sensitive. The flow was at 25,000 barrels an hour Thursday morning. While the reason behind the dip wasn’t immediately clear, Colonial has said that it would take time to stabilize rates after the attack.

Restarting the line is essential to reining in fuel prices in the U.S., where gasoline is watched closely as a barometer of the world’s pandemic oil-demand recovery. The national average gasoline price reached a six-year high Friday, according to auto club AAA.

More than half the filling stations in Myrtle Beach and Spartanburg, South Carolina, were without fuel early Friday afternoon. But across the region, more stations were returning to service, said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for retail tracker GasBuddy.

A Colonial spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment Friday afternoon. The company has said the restart from its shutdown would be intermittent and that all markets were being served Thursday, with schedules delayed by 5.5 days. The line is the largest carrier of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in North America.

The capacity on Colonial’s combined Lines 1 and 2 is about 2.5 million barrels a day from Houston to Greensboro, North Carolina, or roughly 100,000 barrels an hour.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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