Some stations run low on gas after pipeline break in Alabama

Published 9:44 am Friday, September 23, 2016

The effects of a gasoline shortage caused by a break in a pipeline in Alabama hit home Thursday, as some local gas stations were short on gas for their customers.

Some of the shortages were reported at several Kangaroo convenience stores in the city. Customers going to the stations for gas found some of the nozzles covered with plastic bags or special covers to discourage their use. A store on U.S. 61 South also experienced a shortage of gas.

The problem has been fixed by Colonial Pipeline Co., which owns the line, but an official with Circle K, which owns Kangaroo, said it could be some time before supplies at the local stores are back to normal.

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“The problem has created a backlog on supply and causing a problem in deliveries from the East Coast terminals,” said Trey Powell, a marketing executive with Circle K’s Gulf Coast Region.

“It has caused a shortage in all grades (of gas),” Powell said. “We are trying to get gas from other terminals, but it has created a logistics problem. We are still making deliveries, but it is hard. We don’t know when the system will get back to normal.”

Richard Waring of Waring Oil Co., which sells Chevron and ExxonMobile gas, said the company’s supply is in good shape.

“We were put on allocation, but everything’s fine now,” he said. “We haven’t experienced any shortages. It went back on line yesterday (Wednesday), and it takes about three days for the terminals to fill back up, so everything’s good.”

The break was in a section of the Colonial Pipeline known as Line 1, a 36-inch underground pipeline that moves more than 1million barrels of gasoline per day from refineries in Houston, Texas, to distribution centers in the southeast and the East Coast.

According to an article in the Birmingham News, the break was discovered Sept. 9 in Shelby County, Ala., by an inspector with the Alabama Surface Mining Commission, who was inspecting an old coal mine and noticed a strong smell of gasoline and a sheen on a retention pond.

By about Sept.17, according to the article, the leak caused the loss of 336,000 gallons of gas.

Workers for Colonial by Tuesday eliminated the leak by completing a bypass around the site to allow gas to resume flowing.

But gas shortages are still possible.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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