Colonial Pipeline shuts down Line 1 and 2

East Coast May Face Fuel Shortages After Storm Disrupts Major Pipeline

The pipeline hauls more 3 million barrels a day of refined products including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast refining hub to the populous U.S. Northeast.

That means fuel prices are expected to rise more than they already have, and will continue rising the longer the refineries and pipelines are out of commission, the American Automobile Association and the EPA predicted.

The Colonial Pipeline, which carries huge amounts of gasoline and other fuel between Houston and the East Coast, is shutting down after Hurricane Harvey forced the closure of refineries and some of the pipeline's own facilities. This pipeline provides almost 40 percent of the South's gasoline. Separately, the Explorer Pipeline said on Wednesday it had shut its main fuel line as supplies dwindle. In the Charlotte region, the average price of gas rose from 27 cents over the past seven days to $2.43, according to AAA.

Motiva Enterprises' Port Arthur, Texas refinery, the nation's largest, may be shut as long as two weeks for assessment of the plant and fix of any damage, sources familiar with plant operations said on Thursday.

Hurricane Harvey has potentially cut USA fuel-making capacity to the lowest level since 2008 after its initial strike on the Texas coast late last week.

By Saturday, he said gas prices in Toronto and southern Ontario will be up at least 17 or 18 cents total since the first indications last week that Harvey would cause major flooding in the Houston area.

On Wednesday, Colonial said its two pipelines would be shut down because of the damage done by Hurricane Harvey and the massive flooding that followed in Houston and the surrounding area. And while only half the Dallas-Forth Worth area stores will have gasoline, all will remain open, he said. Motiva Enterprises holds exclusive rights to distribute Shell fuels to the majority of the southeast, said Natalie Gunnell, a spokeswoman for Shell's USA products unit.

AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump statewide was $2.26 per gallon. As Tropical Storm Harvey hit southeast Louisiana on Wednesday, it brought torrential rains that shut the biggest USA refinery, owned by Motiva Enterprises LLC in Port Arthur, Texas, and one nearby held by Total SA. "We've seen it before", Cooper said.

"Once Colonial is able to ensure that its facilities are safe to operate and [its] refiners in Lake Charles and points east have the ability to move product to Colonial, our system will resume operations", it said. "And then we'll have more clarity down the road".

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