Monday 10 May 2021 7:03 am

Oil prices rise after critical US pipeline hit by cyber attack

Oil prices climbed higher this morning after a major cyber attack forced the shutdown of a critical US pipeline, sparking fears of shortages.

Brent crude was up 0.6 per cent, at $68.66 a barrel this morning, having risen 1.5 per cent last week. US West Texas Intermediate futures rose 0.5 per cent at $65.24 a barrel, after gaining more than two per cent last week.

It comes after the Colonial Pipeline was targeted with a ransomware attack on Friday, forcing operators to shut down the system.

The pipeline is the source of nearly half the US east coast’s fuel supply, transporting 2.5m barrels per day.

The White House has intervened to help restore service through the pipeline amid fears about the impact on supply.

Emergency legislation was passed last night granting a temporary waiver to transport gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

This means oil products can be shipped to New York in tankers, though it will still not be able to meet the pipeline’s capacity.

Multiple reports placed the blame for the ransomware attack with cyber criminal group Darkside, who are thought to have taken control of almost 100GB of data.

Colonial yesterday said its main fuel lines remain offline but some smaller lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. It did not say when the network will return to full capacity.

The hack has prompted calls for strengthened protection for US critical energy infrastructure from cyber attacks.

The Department of Energy said it was monitoring potential impacts to the nation’s energy supply.