Colonial Pipeline to shut US Northeast fuel lines due to Harvey

The Colonial Pipeline, which carries huge amounts of gasoline and other fuel between Houston and the East Coast, is shutting down after Hurricane Harvey forced the closure of refineries and some of the pipeline's own facilities.

Colonial Pipeline's Line 2, which transports mainly jet fuel and diesel, shut down Wednesday evening.

Colonial, which moves more than 3 million barrels of fuel per day from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast, said the lack of supply out of Houston and Hebert is slowing the entire system and many lines will be shutdown.

Colonial's Lines 1 and 2 continue to operate from Lake Charles east. Deliveries will be intermittent and dependent on terminal and refinery supply. Gov. Roy Cooper said gas shortages and higher gas prices should be expected, as has been the case with past major storms that affected the gulf coast.

- A major gasoline pipeline in Atlanta has temporarily suspended operations in facilities west of Lake Charles, Louisiana due to Hurricane Harvey, according to a press release by Colonial Pipeline.

With the closure of a part of a key pipeline Thursday creating the potential to drive them higher, average gas prices climbed 5 cents across the country and in Virginia between Wednesday and Thursday in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas last week and continues to drench parts of Louisiana, Arkansas and MS as a tropical depression. The price spike is more dramatic in some states such as Georgia, where the average cost per gallon of regular gas has climbed from $2.22 a week ago to $2.39 now. The company does not have a projected restart time.

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Thirteen oil refineries have been shut down or are in the process of closing, while several others are operating at reduced rates.

The dual pipeline transports over 2.5 million barrels per day (MMBPD) of gasoline and petroleum products from the U.S. Gulf Coast to the East Coast.

Half of the 26 refineries that supply Colonial's 5,500 miles of pipeline are located between Houston and Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The Colonial Pipeline is like the I-95 of the nation's pipeline network, it's that vital.

"We now estimate that we will be able to return to service from Houston Sunday, following an evaluation of our infrastructure and successful execution of our start-up plan", the company said in a statement.

"It's gonna be a matter of weeks but gas prices will eventually come back down", said DeHaan.

  • Darren Santiago