U.S. pipeline problems exposed Canada’s vulnerability to shutting off water taps

Problems with the two major oil and gasoline pipelines in the United States highlight the vulnerability of North America’s energy infrastructure network and the vulnerability of Canadians suffering from supply disruptions.

The 8,880-kilometer colonial pipeline was refined from the oil refineries in the Gulf of Mexico to the gasoline on the eastern coast. Cyber ??attack this week, Taking tens of millions of liters of gasoline offline. This has caused the gas stations from the Mid-Atlantic states to the northernmost point of New York to run out, and there are still long lines of gas stations.

Under normal circumstances, the pipeline transports 2.5 million barrels of gasoline a day to the Greensboro, North Carolina area, and the amount of oil transported north to New Jersey has increased by nearly 1 million barrels.

The company said it expects to back up and run everything by Friday. If the timetable is established, it means that 200 to 30 million barrels of gasoline cannot be used.

Warren Maby, director of the Institute of Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, said that local pipeline problems may have an impact on the wider power grid, indicating the interconnectivity and fragility of the system.

In an interview with CBC News, he said: “Pipelines have become a very popular game, even in places where they have never attracted attention before.”

Gasoline has been transported to the disaster area in excess from other places, most of which came from other parts of the United States. Although this has not happened yet, it is not difficult to imagine that Canadian gasoline will be diverted.

Gasoline prices in the east coast of the United States have soared because of the closure of a key pipeline that transports gasoline from the Gulf Coast to areas outside of New York. (Wendy Martinez/CBC)

When production stops, gasoline prices usually rise as summer approaches-this trend has become more common this year due to the pandemic.

“It’s been three weeks since the anniversary, [gasoline] Inventories have dropped significantly from the peak of the pandemic, and it is expected that everyone and their brothers will spend their holidays this summer. “Jonathan Chappell, a transportation analyst at investment research firm Evercore ISI, said in a report to clients.

“Therefore, when there is no timetable to return about 45% of all gasoline and diesel consumed on the east coast to the pipeline to return to the timetable, it will involve panic.”

GasBuddy.com, a gasoline tracking website, said that the average price of gasoline in the United States has reached $2.99 ??per gallon. A level that has never been reached since 2014.

Patrick De Haan, an analyst at the price tracking website, said that at least in the short term, the impact on Canada is negligible. He told CBC News in a direct message: “If it lasts more than a week, the increase may be so small.”

So far, Canadian prices have not changed much. According to government data, the average retail price of gasoline in Canada on Tuesday was 1.33 Canadian dollars per liter, a slight drop from the 1.35 Canadian dollars before the cyber attack.

Vivek Gupta, partner of Canadian BDO Cyber ??Security Practice, said this situation underscores the importance of cyber security for critical infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines. He said that the longer the duration, the more likely it is for Canadian consumers to feel it.

In an interview with CBC News on Tuesday, he said: “If they cannot recover within a week, the impact on Canada will be even greater.”

He said: “The refinery is sitting on the product, the storage tanks are being filled, but the demand for gasoline remains the same, or even higher.”

Line 5

Although the possibility of siphoning Canadian gasoline for use in the United States is unlikely, Canadian drivers are more worried about another pipeline deadlock elsewhere in the United States.

Michigan gives Anbridge one Ultimatum by closing its pipeline of Line 5 between Ontario and the state by Wednesday. Governor Gretchen Witmer objected to the 68-year-old pipeline for environmental reasons, thinking that the part that passes under the Mackinac Strait between Lake Huron and Lake Michigan is a “sneak bomb” , There is a danger of being destroyed.

Enbridge, headquartered in Calgary, dispelled these concerns and stated that the production line will only be closed if a court order forces it to close the production line. It’s hard to imagine this happening. In fact, the Canadian federal government asked the court to take the opposite action on Tuesday. Petition to the U.S. court to prevent the state from interfering in the matter, instead of focusing on Canada and the United States. However, it is difficult to underestimate the severity of this damage.

Enbridge’s No. 5 production line delivers 500,000 barrels a day to refineries in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ontario and Quebec. (CBC)

Laura Lau, chief investment officer of the Toronto Brompton Group, said that about half of the oil that enters Ontario that was originally intended to be refined into gasoline is transported through pipelines, so the impact is huge, almost immediate. .

She said of the pipeline that transports more than 500,000 barrels of oil a day: “The short-term solution is to put it in, but there is a lot of oil.” “You only realize how big it is when you lose it.”

Maby said that reducing oil demand and pipeline transportation capacity “may be a good long-term goal in the short term, but we do need to consider the impact on the economy on both sides of the border.”

He said that cyberattacks have pushed up the price and supply of gasoline, and “taking more pipeline capacity offline will only exacerbate this situation.”

Although she doubts whether this will happen, Ms. Liu said that the suspension of Line 5 will lead to shortages and tight natural gas supplies in Canada due to the backlog of people due to panic. “Many refineries will be closed because there is nothing to refine.”

“I think a cool head will prevail… but I told my husband yesterday to get some gasoline just in case.”

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