An oil and gas pipeline system that was forced to shut down on Friday after a ransomware attack is not expected to be “substantially” restored until the end of the week, its operator, Colonial Pipeline, said on Monday.
“While this situation remains fluid and continues to evolve, the Colonial operations team is executing a plan that involves an incremental process that will facilitate a return to service in a phased approach,” the company said in a statement posted on its website. “This plan is based on a number of factors with safety and compliance driving our operational decisions, and the goal of substantially restoring operational service by the end of the week.”
The company said it was monitoring its customers’ supplies and was working with shippers to move fuel. Oil and gas prices, which had jumped earlier on Monday, came off their highs of the day after Colonial’s statement.
The sudden shut down of 5,500 miles of pipeline, which the company says carries nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel supplies, has been a troubling sign of vulnerabilities in the nation’s energy infrastructure and raised concerns about fuel supplies to large portions of the country.
Experts said several airports that depend on the pipeline for jet fuel, including those in Nashville, Baltimore-Washington and Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., could have a hard time later in the week. Airports generally store enough jet fuel for three to five days of operations.
The F.B.I. said on Monday that the attack was the work of a hacking group called DarkSide.
The confirmation of the hack comes as the Biden administration in the coming days is expected to announce an executive order to strengthen America’s cyberdefense infrastructure.
Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technologies, said Monday that the government believes DarkSide is “a criminal actor” but is looking for any ties the group may have to nation-states. She added that Colonial has not sought cyber support from the government, and could not confirm if the company, a private corporation, has paid any ransom.