Various forms of security risk exists in the critical infrastructure throughout the United States and one of them is pipelines carrying fuel from the Gulf of Mexico to the East Coast.
That is why the U.S. is studying the vulnerability of Colonial Pipeline Co. and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP pipelines, the U.S. Homeland Security Department said today.
“We will be conducting analysis to better understand how disruptions to Colonial’s pipeline and Plantation pipelines could affect the broader critical infrastructure,” said Brandon Wales, director of the department’s Homeland Infrastructure Threat and Risk Analysis Center.
Wales responded to lawmaker questions about the risk of terrorist attacks to energy assets during a webcast by a U.S. House Homeland Security Committee panel from Aston, PA.
The agency conducted more than 60 vulnerability assessments for U.S. pipeline infrastructure in the past several years, Wales said.
“Our primary concern would be a prolonged damage to the pipeline that kept it down more than a week, more than two weeks,” said Wales. “Once you start getting beyond a week or two the ability for the excess inventory at terminals along its route starts to be diminished and then you start to have more serious impacts.”
Colonial operates 5,500 miles of pipeline delivering gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products from Gulf Coast refineries to markets across the U.S. South and East Coast.
Kinder Morgan operates more than 8,000 miles of pipelines across the U.S., including the 3,100-mile Plantation system delivering petroleum products from the Gulf Coast to states in the southeast U.S. and along the East coast.