SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As gas stations in the southeast United States are covering up pumps as the fuel supply dwindles, it has some asking whether such shortages will become more widespread.
The catalyst for this fuel shortage was a cyber attack of the Colonial Pipeline, which has halted the flow of fuel to several states across the southeast.
To answer the question, KELOLAND News sat down with Alex Nelson, Vice President of Midwest Oil Co., who says that for the time being, we have little to worry about. “Because we’re on a different pipeline system, we weren’t really affected,” says Nelson.
Nelson also tells us that the majority, if not all, of the fuel that supplies the Sioux Falls area, comes through two pipelines; the NuStar pipeline, and the Magellan pipeline. KELOLAND reached out to the companies to ask about their supply chain.
We have not received a response from NuStar, but a representative from Magellan told us that they are currently operating normally, and that they have been continuously developing their cyber program for nearly a decade, and believe it to be comprehensive.
Due to the sensitive nature of the security the representative declined to provide specific details about the type of cyber defenses Magellan is employing.
Another concern for many is the rising cost of gas. Governor Kristi Noem tweeted Wednesday, laying the blame for ‘skyrocketing’ prices at the feet of the Biden administration for cancelling the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Nelson, however, says the reason for rising prices is a bit more complicated than that.
“With fuel and crude oil being some of the most volatile industries in the world, it’s never just one thing,” says Nelson. “There’s thousands if not millions of variables that affect [gas prices], which makes it pretty tough to predict. I think to point at one thing is pretty tough to do.”
KELOLAND News also reached out to Gov. Noem’s office to ask about the types of measure the state has in place to defend critical infrastructure from such attacks. Noem’s communications director Ian Fury told us that her office is working on issuing a statement.