The Colonial Pipeline that supplies gasoline, jet and diesel fuel from the Gulf Coast and all the way north to Washington, D.C., will soon be shut down amid flooding and shuttered refinery capacity in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
The 5,500-mile pipeline is a major supply artery for refined fuels, and links 100 million gallons per day of refined fuels from Gulf Coast refiners to markets in the Southeast and up north to the Mid-Atlantic states, all the way to Washington and New York City.
The imminent shutdown is expected to cause fuel shortages and price spikes. Gasoline prices are rising steadily on both the spot and futures markets, meaning prices are going up and are unlikely to settle for some time.
Colonial confirmed the closure that began in small increments on Wednesday and through the night into Thursday.
Diesel and jet fuel deliveries were suspended last night. The gasoline delivery portion of the pipeline complex will be shut down later on Thursday.
Gasoline Line 1 had been working at reduced capacity over the last few days, but due to damage, flooding and a large chunk of refinery capacity offline, it will have to be closed until assessment and repairs are made, the company said.
There is simply not enough supply being produced, nor is there the ability to feed fuel to the pipeline to keep the facility open, according to the company. Thirteen of the 26 refineries that feed the line are currently offline.
"Once Colonial is able to ensure that its facilities are safe to operate and refiners in Lake Charles and points east have the ability to move product to Colonial, our system will resume operations," the pipeline firm said.