Explosion on the Colonial Pipeline (Updated 11.2.16)
The Colonial Pipeline—which begins in Texas and terminates in New Jersey—has been shut down for the second time in two months. On October 31, an explosion and large fire started seven miles away from the site where the Colonial Pipeline leak occurred in September. The explosion was triggered by a crew working on the pipeline that hit it with a trackhoe, igniting the gasoline. One person was killed and at least five were injured. The blast and subsequent fire led to the evacuation of homes within a three-mile radius.
According to Colonial, gasoline markets impacted by the leak in September will be similarly affected by the current shutdown. Following the previous leak, New Jersey experienced no shortages or increases in fuel prices due to the State’s robust petroleum infrastructure and additional sources of petroleum products. As a result, NJOHSP expects this week’s explosion and fire to have minimal impact to New Jersey.
Despite the damage, Colonial officials noted the gasoline line could be functioning again as early as this Saturday, pending a damage assessment.
Colonial Pipeline Leak: Minimal Impact on New Jersey (Information Cutoff 10.26.16)
The Colonial Pipeline gasoline leak last month in Alabama had little impact on New Jersey, largely because of the State’s multiple supply chains and regional production capability. The cause of the leak is unknown and it occurred in one of Colonial’s two lines transiting Alabama, which services the southeastern United States and terminates in Linden, New Jersey. The leak temporarily suspended service for a week, causing gasoline shortages and price increases along the pipeline’s route.
New Jersey is a distribution point for gasoline and diesel fuel in the northeastern United States, serviced by four petroleum pipelines, including Colonial, and supplemented by marine imports. This contrasts with the fuel needs of the southeastern states, which rely on only two pipelines for gasoline—Colonial and Plantation Pipeline Company.
New Jersey receives gasoline from five nearby refineries, including two in the state—the PBF Energy Refinery in Paulsboro and the Bayway Refinery in Linden. Gasoline produced at PBF Energy Refinery joins with gasoline transported on the Colonial Pipeline, reducing the State’s reliance on the pipeline’s original source in Texas. Three refineries in Pennsylvania also serve New Jersey.