Ag Commissioner discusses temporary fuel supply disruption in Mississippi

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Tuesday, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson (R-Miss.) discussed the current temporary fuel supply disruption in Mississippi.

The disruption comes after a cyberattack on a Colonial Pipeline, which runs through the state. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identified the ransomware gang responsible as DarkSide.

The commissioner encouraged Mississippians to refrain from “panic buying” fuel due to the cyberattack.

Gipson said, “Unfortunately, a lot of people in Mississippi have gone out and begun to do exactly what happened during the great toilet paper crisis in 2020 – gone out and bought everything on the shelves.”

He said people may see some gas stations without gas on Tuesday. He said that’s not due to the Colonial Pipeline attack, but it’s due to unnecessary panic buying. Gipson said there’s no reason for Mississippians to panic buy fuel, because the state has multiple pipelines in operation.

“The Colonial Pipeline itself does provide only about 30 percent of the total fuel in the state of Mississippi and is only in some areas of the state,” Gipson stated. “Our river terminals at Vicksburg, Greenville and Aberdeen are continuing to receive an abundant supply of product – increased, even, because of the delay in shipping on the pipeline. Our land terminals are continuing to fill orders. The Plantation Pipeline is increasing supply and the Pascagoula Chevron Refinery is operating without disruption.”

The Plantation Pipeline, an additional pipeline running through the state, is working to accommodate added supply on its pipeline. The Chevron Pascagoula Refinery, one of the largest refining operations in the country located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is unaffected due to the outage of the Colonial Pipeline. The Chevron Pascagoula Refinery is continuing to supply its customer network along the U.S. East Coast and is managing fuel supply chain disruptions caused by the outage of the Colonial Pipeline.

The commissioner encouraged Mississippians to limit their travel for the time being.

“I recommend Mississippians limit travel as possible, but if traveling for work or pleasure this week to be mindful of their fuel needs. You should call ahead to the chamber of commerce or local tourism office at your destination to inquire about local fuel supplies. Unfortunately, gas prices have been on the rise, and we expect this will further contribute to price increases at the pump. However, we anticipate any local price increases felt by consumers will not be the result of lack of supply, but rather are related to additional shipping costs incurred with picking up product in markets outside of the routine contract area due to the disruption,” said Gipson.

Gov. Tate Reeves released the following statement about the disruption.

First and foremost: Please remain calm!

Here’s the latest update on the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack. Our team has been closely monitoring the situation since last Friday, and my message to you is simple: there is no need to panic.

In a normal week, less than 30% of Mississippi’s fuel comes from the Colonial Pipeline. The vast majority of our fuel (over 70%) comes from at least five other sources, both in and out of state, including the Pascagoula Refinery. Also, necessary state and federal action has already occurred to allow longer hours for fuel to be delivered by tanker.

Even better news – the Colonial Pipeline is currently estimating that they will be back functional by the end of this week. If that timeline is accurate, this media-driven crisis will be no different than the toilet paper “crisis” that was manufactured at the beginning of COVID.

So stay calm – buy your normal level of weekly gasoline – and live your life! If everyone takes this approach, this will be behind us with minimal impact.

Gov. Tate Reeves (R-Miss.)

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) said it’s monitoring the Colonial Pipeline situation.

The Hinds County EMA office released information on what is considered essential travel:

  • Seek emergency services, obtain medications or medical services
  • Obtain products needed to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of your homes, residences, businesses and vehicles
  • Obtain groceries and food, including delivery or carry-out services
  • Travel to your place of work if you cannot telework
  • Take your pet to the veterinarian
  • Obtain supplies required to work from home
  • Take your child to daycare
  • Obtain gas

Colonial Pipeline plans to have service restored by the end of the week.

Watch the full news conference with Gipson below.

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