The US government has issued an emergency regulation to temporarily transport petrol, diesel, aircraft fuel and other petroleum products by road.
Since Friday, an important pipeline has been down. Hackers have shut down the computer systems of the largest oil pipeline company. The group DarkSide might be behind the attack, sources say to press agency Reuters. That would be a relatively new group that deals with ransomware, thereby hacking computer systems and releasing them after payment. The motive would be exclusively financial.
2.5 million barrels of oil and other refined products pass through the Colonial Pipeline pipes every day. They say they supply 45 percent of the east coast with fuels.
In total, 18 states are now allowed to temporarily transport oil by road. Its Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Patrick Kulsen expects it to affect oil prices in the country. He is director of Insights Global, a market researcher in the oil and chemical sector. In the CCEit Radio 1 News he says that tankers can never transport the volumes that now pass through the pipes.
“ It is comparable when the Rhine is low and tankers have to drive to Germany. Then you can see that no car is available in no time.” The transport then goes a lot slower and that has an effect on the price.
In addition, the so-called Jones Act applies in the US. It stipulates that oil can only be transported by oil tanker if it is flying the US flag. “And there are not many, so supplying the East Coast by tanker is not so easy.” Kulsen therefore sees opportunities for trade from the Netherlands. “Petrol can be shipped from Europe to the east coast of the US.”
Whether the flattening of the pipelines affects the price of petrol here, Kulsen can not say yet. “It depends on how long it will take. If the EU is going to transport oil to the US, the supply here will be reduced and prices will rise.”