EIA: Pipeline outages lead to record gasoline stock changes in Southeast, Gulf Coast

Disruptions of Colonial Pipeline Co.’s Line 1 during Sept. 9-21 resulted in record changes in motor gasoline stocks in both the Lower Atlantic and Gulf Coast states during the week ending Sept. 16, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration.

Colonial Pipeline extends from as far west as Houston to as far north and east as Linden, NJ, near New York Harbor. Colonial’s Line 1, which carries gasoline from Houston to as far east as Greensboro, NC, is the largest gasoline supply pipeline linking the Gulf Coast—home to roughly half of the nation's refining capacity—to the Lower Atlantic, a major demand region that has no petroleum refineries.

Line 1 was out of service following a leak southwest of Birmingham, Ala.

During the week ending Sept. 16, total motor gasoline stocks in the Lower Atlantic states, defined by Petroleum Administration for Defense District, fell nearly 6 million bbl to 22 million bbl. The largest previous weekly draw on gasoline inventories in the area was 2.9 million bbl in late June 2003. Meanwhile, Gulf Coast (PADD 3) gasoline stocks increased nearly 4.8 million bbl. Both changes were records for those regions, based on weekly data since late 1990.

During the pipeline outage, the Lower Atlantic states drew down inventories of motor gasoline and also received additional supplies through various other sources, including Line 2, which under normal circumstances is used exclusively for distillate fuel. Gulf Coast refineries stored or exported motor gasoline that could not be moved to the East Coast when the pipeline was out of service.

On Sept. 21, Colonial restored operations on the pipeline through a 500-ft, aboveground bypass around the affected section. In the week ending Sept. 23, stocks rose modestly in both regions, indicating that resupply is reaching the Lower Atlantic region.

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