The largest U.S. gasoline pipeline restarted Sunday morning, six days after an explosion and fire in Alabama during planned work on the line.
Crews removed the affected portion of the pipeline from the blast on Saturday and installed a new segment. The company said Line 1 resumed service at 5:45 a.m. central time Sunday. The Oct. 31 explosion that killed one worker and injured several also shut a sister pipeline that hauls diesel and jet fuel for several hours. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board opened an investigation into the accident Thursday.
“Subsequent to today’s successful restart, it is expected to take several days for the fuel delivery supply chain to return to normal,” Colonial said in an online statement.
Colonial anticipated fuel products leaving the pipeline’s Houston origin to arrive in Linden, New Jersey, where the system ends, within approximately three days, according to a map posted online. Fuel products delivered from Houston to Charlotte and Atlanta, an artery that supplies markets in Georgia and Tennessee, were estimated to take approximately one day.
Colonial’s shutdown was tied to repair work on portions of the 1.3 million-barrel-a-day line that sprung a leak Sept. 9. That leak put the pipeline out of service for 12 days and caused fuel shortages in Southeastern states. In response to the latest outage, Governors in Alabama, North Carolina and Georgia temporarily lifted trucking guidelines to prevent spikes in fuel prices at the pump.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency stepped in Thursday to overlook certain portions of the Clean Air Act until Nov. 23 to ensure supply. The waiver allows densely populated cities to use conventional fuel instead of the reformulated gasoline that’s regulated to control emissions. The waiver will not be applied to deliveries made against the RBOB futures contract traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, CME Group said in an online notice.