• Oil and gas prices fell on Thursday morning after the Colonial Pipeline said it would restart.
  • The pipeline had been targeted in a cyberattack which led to its shutdown.
  • Resulting energy supply shortages had driven up oil and gas prices at the beginning of the week.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Oil, gasoline, and diesel prices fell sharply on Thursday, after Colonial Pipeline said it would restart operations following a cyberattack last week that shut off supply and caused energy supply shortages in various eastern US states.

The pipeline is the largest pipeline system in the US and provides the east coast with around 45% of its fuel, a total of around 2.5 million barrels a day. The shutdown led to long lines at fuel stations as drivers scrambled to refill.

"Following this restart, it will take several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal. Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions during the start-up period. Colonial will move as much gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel as is safely possible and will continue to do so until markets return to normal," the Colonial Pipeline Company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The prospect of the pickup in supply weighed on the energy complex on Thursday, partly too as cases of Covid-19 continued to surge in key consumer countries such as India.

Gasoline futures were last down 2.29% on Thursday at $2.11 (R31,00) a gallon. They traded at their highest in two years earlier in the week, following the pipeline shutdown. Heating oil futures, used as a proxy for diesel, were last down 2.15% at $2.025 (R30,00) a gallon, having hit their highest since last January this week.

Brent crude oil futures were last down 2.51%, trading at $67.58 (R1020,00) per barrel, while WTI oil futures experienced a similar drop and were last trading at $64.41 (R960), down 2.53%.

The pipeline outage also drew on crude oil inventory across the week, data from the US Energy Information Administration showed.

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