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SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. — A temporary bypass on a pipeline should allow gasoline to flow again as early as Sept. 21, Colonial Pipeline Co. officials announced.
As CSNews Online previously reported, a leak was first detected on Sept. 9 here on Colonial Line 1, an approximately 500-foot section of piping, which leaked as many of 336,000 gallons of fuel, forcing a shutdown and subsequent gas price rise in the Southeast, specifically the states of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
However, despite the temporary bypass, gas prices may not go back down right away, and Southeastern convenience stores may not receive full shipments immediately.
"When Line 1 restarts, it will take several days for the fuel delivery supply chain to return to normal. As such, some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions. Colonial continues to move as much gasoline, diesel and jet fuel as possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal," Colonial said in a statement.
According to The Associated Press, this is not the first time Alphretta, Ga.-based Colonial Pipeline has had to handle to spill. In 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fined the company $34 million — at the time the largest civil penalty handed down by the government agency in its history — after Colonial spilled nearly a million gallons of diesel in South Carolina.
C-STORE RETAILERS AFFECTED
Wells Fargo Securities LLC predicted Murphy USA Inc.’s earnings will be reduced due to the oil leak. The brokerage expects the El Dorado, Ark.-based company’s earnings per share to come in between five and 15 cents lower for its fiscal 2016 year than previously expected.
“Ethanol blending has also likely been impacted given lower fuel volumes potentially reducing the number of RIN [renewable identification number] credits Murphy USA are able to sell,” Bonnie Herzog, managing director of tobacco, beverage and consumer research at Wells Fargo, said in a research note.
During the time of uncertainty during the fuel leak, Wex Inc., a provider of corporate payment solutions, has its WEX Connect mobile app available as a resource.
WEX Connect assists drivers and fleet managers in the Southeast region in finding fuel and service stations in operation in their area through a convenient mobile app available on Android, iPhone and iPad devices.
“The current predicament in the Southeast region requires further planning for fleet managers and added preparedness from drivers in the area. As the situation continues to unfold, we want to remind all that WEX Connect is here as a resource during this trying time when finding accessible fuel stations is of the upmost importance,” said Bernie Kavanagh, senior vice president and general manager for North American fleet for WEX.