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The operator of the country’s largest pipeline – hit earlier this week by a ransomware attack – announced on Saturday it had resumed “normal operations”, delivering fuel to its markets, including a wide swath of the coast is.
Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline began the process of restarting pipeline operations on Wednesday evening, warning that it could take several days for the supply chain to return to normal.
“Since that time, we have returned the system to normal operations, delivering millions of gallons per hour to the markets we serve,” Colonial Pipeline said in a tweet on Saturday. These markets include Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
“All of these markets are now receiving product from our pipeline,” the company said, noting how its employees on the other side of the pipeline “have worked safely and tirelessly around the clock to keep our lines up and running.”
Gas shortages, which have spread from the south except drain stations in Washington, DC, have improved from a peak Thursday night. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told The Associated Press on Friday that the country was “on top of the bump” of gas shortages, with around 200 stations being put back into service every hour.
“It’s still going to work its way through the system over the next few days, but we should be back to normal pretty soon,” she said.
“I’m not going where I don’t need to go,” said Raleigh driver Jermaine Barnes. “I don’t visit people. I watch where I’m driving. I’m doing everything differently right now.”
Martha Meade, public and government relations manager at AAA Mid-Atlantic, said many gas stations in the Virginia area still had no gas on Saturday. But she said “queues have shrunk since the height of the crisis” and “panic buying has eased.”
Several sources confirmed to The Associated Press that Colonial Pipeline paid the criminals who carried out the cyberattack a ransom of nearly $ 5 million in cryptocurrency for the software decryption key needed to decrypt their data network.
The ransom – 75 Bitcoin – was paid last Saturday, a day after criminals locked down Colonial’s corporate network, according to Tom Robinson, co-founder of cryptocurrency tracking firm Elliptic. Prior to Robinson’s blog post, two people briefed on the case had confirmed the payment amount to AP.
The pipeline system delivers approximately 45% of the gasoline consumed to the East Coast.
Associated Press article.