NEW YORK, Sept 21 Colonial Pipeline Co said it
expects a full restart of its gasoline line by Wednesday evening
after its biggest leak in nearly two decades squeezed supply and
led to increased prices at the pump in southeast United States.
The biggest refined products system in the U.S. restarted
parts of the line a few days after a leak was discovered on
Sept. 9. The damaged section of the 1.3 million-barrel-a-day
line that connects the refining hub of the Gulf Coast to the
East Coast has been shut for more than 12 days.
Motorists have faced long lines and shortage of fuel in many
states across the southeast, such as North Carolina and
Consumers are expected to feel the pinch for slightly
longer, until the supply chain is fully restored after the
6,000-8,000 barrel leak in Shelby County, Alabama.
Prices in Georgia, one of the most affected, inched up by
another cent on Wednesday, with a gallon of regular gasoline
currently at $2.372, about 28 cents higher than last week's
average prices, according to motorist advocacy group AAA.
The outage led to a record drop in inventories in the East
Coast and sent Gulf Coast gasoline stockpiles soaring to record
The company built a section of pipe to bypass the damaged
portion, in order to restart operations quickly. The U.S.
Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
Safety Administration (PHMSA) approved the operation of the
bypass as a temporary measure to restore service, late Tuesday.
That approval, however, does not affect the terms of the
Corrective Action Order PHMSA issued on Sept. 16.
Colonial said it successfully tested and completed the
connection of the bypass segment to the main line on Wednesday
After the line is restarted, Colonial will work with
federal, state and local officials to remove the damaged segment
of the original line and also try to determine the cause of the
leak. It was discovered on Sept. 9 by a mining inspector who
smelled a fuel odor.
(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by