A big oil pipeline that transports more than 100 million gallons of fuel daily from Houston to Linden, New Jersey, has been shut down following a cyberattack on the company that owns it.
Colonial Pipeline, which supplies approximately 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supply, shut down its entire pipeline network and a portion of its information technology systems on Friday.
“Upon learning of the matter, we engaged a reputable third-party cybersecurity firm, which has already begun an investigation into the nature and extent of this incident,” the company said in a statement.
“We also made contact with law enforcement and additional government agencies.”
The FBI and the White House National Security Council did not immediately respond to The Associated Press’s requests for comment.
Colonial Pipeline, located in Alpharetta, Georgia, stated that restoring service is a priority and that the “process is already underway.” There was no indication of when the pipeline would reopen.
It included no details about what occurred, who launched the attack, what the attackers’ motivations were, or whether the attack created any additional problems.
According to several news organizations, including Reuters and The Washington Post, the incident was a ransomware attack, citing US government sources. The Washington Post stated that it was unknown if the attack was carried out by criminals or a foreign government.
The company’s 5,500-mile pipeline network transports gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, home heating oil, and military fuel in the United States. Although a brief disruption could have little effect, a prolonged disruption may affect the price of gasoline at the pump, as well as increase prices for airlines, shipping firms, and others.
CNBC confirmed that Colonial shut down large portions of its pipelines during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Gasoline and diesel prices reached multi-year highs during that time period.