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Colonial Pipeline resumes normal operations after hack, but many gas stations still face shortages


A gas station runs out of gasoline after motorists rush to fill up on May 12, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.

Chen Mengtong | China News Service | Getty Images

Colonial Pipeline has returned its entire system to normal operations and is delivering millions of gallons of fuel each hour after a ransomware attack forced the company shut its network last Friday.

The company said Saturday that its pipeline is now servicing all markets, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The cyberattack had forced the company to shut down approximately 5,500 miles of pipeline and triggered widespread fuel shortages in the Southeast and panic buying in some states.

Colonial carries nearly half of the fuel supply on the East Coast, including gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil and jet fuel. Colonial restarted operations around 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday but warned that the pipeline would not be fully functional immediately.

A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told NBC News on Thursday that Colonial paid almost $5 million as a ransom to the cybercriminals. It’s unclear when the transaction occurred.

The Department of Energy led the federal response to the attack — which was carried out by a cyber criminal group known as DarkSide — in coordination with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.

More than 40% of stations across Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia are still without fuel, according to the latest data from GasBuddy, and 81% and 68% of stations in D.C. and North Carolina, respectively, are without fuel.

However, stations that were refueled overnight might not be reporting improved numbers yet, according to GasBuddy.

Colonial said it will invest in the necessary resources to maintain safe and reliable pipeline operations.

“Since this incident began, we have been clear that our focus was on the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system,” Colonial said in a tweet. “That is what we have achieved through the commitment and dedication of the many Colonial team members.”

“Our team members across the pipeline worked safely and tirelessly around the clock to get our lines up and running, and we are grateful for their dedicated service and professionalism during these extraordinary times,” the company said.

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