As Hurricane Ida made landfall in the U.S., Colonial Pipeline says it will be closing two of its fuel lines from Texas to North Carolina as a "precautionary and routine safety measure."
Colonial expects the pipeline to return to full service as the storm moves out of the region but will first be subject to evaluations and "successful execution of the company's start-up plan."
Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, says shutting down lines during a storm is not an uncommon practice and believes the aftermath of Ida isn't likely to lead to "drastic price increases" but says there may be some increases in the next two weeks.
The average cost of gas in Houston was at 2.784 while the national average was 3.148 on Sunday, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).
"Our thoughts and prayers are with our neighbors and colleagues across the southern coastline impacted by this extreme weather event," said Wes Dunbar, vice president of operations for Colonial Pipeline. "As part of our weather preparedness and response plans, we have procedures in place to ensure the safety, protection and integrity of our pipeline and our assets - including proactively shutting down our lines when necessary."
The company says prior to Hurricane Ida it implemented its own emergency response plan to continue safe operation of the pipeline which included reviewing protocol, ensuring emergency response equipment was up to date, reviewing contracts and monitoring forecast systems.
Earlier this year, Colonial Pipeline was forced to go offline after a large-scale ransomware attack that led many to panic buy and an eventual gas shortage across the southern U.S.