Second Jones Act waiver granted to Citgo after Colonial outage

The Biden administration has granted a maritime shipping waiver to oil refiner Citgo Petroleum, permitting it to move fuel between US ports on a foreign flagged vessel, reports Reuters, citing two unnamed sources. Citgo was the second company to secure a waiver, following one granted to one Valero Energy.

The waivers are intended to help ease distribution of fuel after a cyber-attack took down the Colonial pipeline, which supplied nearly half the refined fuels from Texas to the US eastern seaboard. That has resulted in panic buying and widespread shortages of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The Department of Homeland Security had announced the second waiver on Friday May 14th, but for an unstated reason declined to name the recipient.

Citgo plans to use the Jones Act waiver to ship about 200,000 barrels of jet fuel, gasoline and ultra-low sulphur diesel from Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Linden, New Jersey, on a foreign flagged vessel, the two sources told Reuters. Citgo declined to comment.

Valero Energy was the first company to receive a waiver, and also was moving fuel from Lake Charles to the East Coast.

Colonial Pipeline announced late Thursday it had restarted its entire pipeline system. However, the process of getting supplies back to normal was expected to take several days.

Refiner Marathon Petroleum had also requested a waiver, the sources told Reuters on Thursday. Marathon also declined to comment.

Shipbroking sources said that a vessel loaded fuel from St Charles, Louisiana, last week and had since been routed to the US East Coast.

Meanwhile, on Friday Washington DC was running out of fuel, with nearly nine out of 10 gas stations out of supplies. Washington officials assured motorists that fuel availability would return to normal soon.

About 70% of gas stations in North Carolina were without fuel, along with about 50% of stations in Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia.

Meanwhile the hacking group that claimed responsibility for the attack, DarkSide, said that it had also hacked four other companies, including a Toshiba subsidiary in Germany.

Colonial Pipeline is not a listed entity, but is owned by pension funds, private equity and energy firms. It had not yet determined how the initial breach occurred, a spokeswoman said on Thursday. Colonial has not disclosed how much money the hackers were seeking or whether they had been paid. Bloomberg News reported that a ransom of nearly $5m had been paid. Darkside denies any political intent, stating that its motives are purely capitalist.

Meanwhile, refiners on the Gulf of Mexico coast have cut production because they have been unable to move gasoline, diesel and jet fuel through the pipeline.