A cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline Company has shut down 8,850 km of pipeline network from Houston to New York and refineries throughout the southern and eastern United States. Tanker operators are likely to benefit from the pipeline’s misfortune
The company has closed certain IT systems and has halted some of its pipeline operations. In a press statement issued on 9 May, the company said, “Leading, third-party cyber-security experts were immediately engaged after discovering the issue and launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident. We have remained in contact with law enforcement and other federal agencies, including the Department of Energy who is leading the Federal Government response.”
“Maintaining the operational security of our pipeline, in addition to safely bringing our systems back online, remain our highest priorities. Over the past 48 hours, Colonial Pipeline personnel have taken additional precautionary measures to help further monitor and protect the safety and security of its pipeline.”
The removal of a major petroleum distribution network serving the southern and eastern seaboards will be a boom for US Jones Act tanker and articulated tanker barge (ATB) operators in the US. Depending on how long the situation lasts, authorities in the US may need to order a relaxation of the US Jones Act requirement to allow sufficient seaborne transportation of petroleum products from the US Gulf to other parts of the USA.
News agency Reuters reported that oil trader Valero has chartered 2013-built, 50,000 dwt MR2 tanker Nave Titan for storage duties. According to VesselsValue data, the vessel is currently in the Mississippi in ballast.