Third Pipeline Company Reports Data System Shutdown Due to Potential Cyberattack

Pipeline company Oneok Inc. reported Tuesday that its electronic system for communicating with customers has stopped working, the third company to report a similar shutdown this week due to potential cyberattacks.

The cyberattack did not affect flow on Oneok's natural gas pipelines, which span across the Permian Basin in Texas and the Rocky Mountain region.

Energy Transfer Partners and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners reported similar breakdowns to their communication systems on Monday but noted that their pipeline operations have not been affected in any way.

The systems that have been hit by potential cyberattacks help pipeline customers communicate their needs with operators via digital document exchanges.

Rae McQuade, president of the North American Energy Standards Board in Houston, said that although the attacks are not affecting the operations of pipelines or public safety, they are causing companies to have to find a workaround for communication.

The Department of Homeland Security said Monday that it is gathering information on the latest potential intrusion and shutdown.

Fuel Fix

Colorado Refuses to Provide Online Oil, Gas Pipeline Map after Fatal Explosion

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said the state will not offer an online map of oil and gas pipelines, despite a recent fatal house explosion in the state caused by a gas leak, due to concern about security and theft.

Instead, energy companies will be required to provide location information to the Call 811 program, which marks the location of underground utilities at a property owner's request.

This requirement is part of the state's seven steps in response to a fatal explosion in April caused by a leaking gas pipeline that killed two people and injured one.

The tragedy showed the need for a comprehensive state map of flow lines, but Governor Hickenlooper said he understood a public database such as that could encourage illegal pipeline tapping or other security threats.

Colorado also imposed emergency regulations for emptying and capping unused lines near buildings as well as began efforts to encourage the industry to fund a program to seal off orphan wells.


Kinder Morgan Secures Financial Backing for Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

Kinder Morgan has secured the financial backing of its US$5.5 billion Trans Mountain pipeline after four Canadian banks agreed to fund the project.

The Royal Bank of Canada, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the Bank of Nova Scotia, and the Toronto Dominion Bank will all back the project that will bring crude from the Canadian oil sands from Edmonton to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Kinder Morgan also received funding after its subsidiary completed its public offering and raised $1.3 billion to fund the project last month.

The Trans Mountain pipeline extension would almost triple capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of crude per day, helping to unplug the bottlenecks that exist in Canada due to the lack of transportation infrastructure. The expansion would run along an existing Kinder Morgan pipeline that has been in operation since 1953.

Construction is expected to be completed by end of 2019.

Houston Chronicle

Kinder Morgan Says Oil Flow of Pipeline Not Interrupted after Protest Attack

Despite an activist groups’ announcement that it succeeded in shutting the flow of five oil pipelines for most of the day Tuesday, Kinder Morgan responded to the incident that the flow of its Trans Mountain pipeline was not interrupted, and no damage was done to the line.

A group called Climate Direct Action simultaneously broke into valve stations in four different states on Tuesday in attempt to stop oil flow from the Alberta oilsands, an act the group called “a remarkable accomplishment” toward tackling the climate crisis.

One of the pipelines targeted was Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline.

Although the group’s dangerous stunt did not affect the flow of Kinder Morgan’s line, the company announced it is reviewing its security procedures and taking precautionary measures for potential future pipeline attacks.

President of Kinder Morgan Ian Anderson stated that oil companies work together to maintain security and safety of their pipelines and that his company is already planning security measures for its proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in the event that it is given the green light to begin construction.

Other pipeline companies were targeted in the protest, including Spectra Energy, Enbridge, and TransCanada. The companies responded to the attacks by warning that tampering with oil pipelines could have unintended and seriously dangerous environmental consequences.

CBC News