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Environment

Colonial Pipeline to continue normal operations ahead of Hurricane Laura

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Colonial Pipeline, the largest refined products pipeline in the United States, will continue normal operations as Hurricane Laura heads toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, the pipeline company said on Wednesday.

The company, though, will evacuate impacted facilities on Wednesday to comply with mandatory evacuation orders in Texas and Louisiana, it said.

A half a million people in Texas and Louisiana fled the storm. Laura is forecast to dissipate quickly after landfall at around midnight (0500 GMT Thursday), with the greatest danger more from wind and storm surges than rain.

Colonial connects Gulf Coast refineries with markets across the southern and eastern United States through more than 5,500 miles (8,850 km) of its pipeline system, delivering gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products.

The company will communicate with local terminals and suppliers to understand their capabilities to supply product, and also will communicate with shippers, refiners and suppliers on available supply, it said.

“We will manage the safe operation and potential shutdown of facilities and pipeline segments as the storm passes and we monitor impacts to our system,” it said. “Colonial will assess and communicate our capabilities as soon as possible after the storm has passed.”

Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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