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East Coast sees gas shortages, price hikes following cyber attack on major fuel pipeline

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After Colonial Pipeline decided to shut down the country’s largest fuel pipeline over cybersecurity threats Friday, states all over the East Coast are experiencing a gas shortage. The pipeline stretches from New Jersey to east Texas.

This comes after ransomware hackers allegedly gained access to information to attack vulnerable parts of the pipeline. In a statement, Colonial Pipeline said it shut the pipeline down as a precaution.

The hackers behind the attack was the group known as DarkSide. It’s a relatively new group, that believes in “ransomware as a service” according to a statement. Their involvement was confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

First, North Carolina declared a state of emergency Monday over the shortage. According to a press release, “The Colonial Pipeline is a primary fuel pipeline for North Carolina.” Governor Roy Cooper said he declared the state of emergency to help “ensure motorists are able to have access to fuel.” Alabama, Arkansas, Wasington D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia followed suit, all declaring states of emergency.

Next, gas prices jumped six cents nationally. AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee said to expect regional impacts in a statement Monday. “Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the east coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and price increases, as early as this week,” McGee said. “These states may see prices increase three to seven cents this week.”

Then, in a press conference Monday, Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technology, discussed the situation with reporters. When asked if the ransomware attackers will receive a ransom, Neuberger said that will be a “private sector decision.”

Next, Colonial Pipeline’s website crashed. While many pointed to the hackers yet again, the company tweeted out that the crash was “unrelated to the ransomware.”

https://twitter.com/Colpipe/status/1392094505235537924

There is no word when the pipeline will be open.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism

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Economy

Chevron downsizes global San Fran headquarters, paying for employees to move to Texas office

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Oil giant Chevron made a huge announcement saying it will be closing its current global headquarters in San Ramon, California. Even more telling, its encouraging employees to move to Houston, Texas.

The San Francisco Gate reported “the oil company will cover relocation costs for those voluntarily leaving for the Texas office, which has been growing and employs nearly 6,000 people. Meanwhile, the San Ramon office buildings have experienced dwindling numbers in recent years.”

Although the company is not leaving the state completely, “company leadership has pushed for a permanent move to Texas in the past” adds SFGATE. Chevron, which has had “deep roots” in California going back to the late 1800s, will vacate its 100-acre campus in 2023.

The Wall Street Journal reports the business hopes to move into a smaller space in San Ramon, which will remain its headquarters. A company spokesperson told SFGATE “the current real estate market provides the opportunity to right-size our office space to meet the requirements of our headquarters-based employee population.”

“The move is expected to occur during the third quarter of 2023” they continued. “Chevron will remain headquartered in California, where the company has a 140-year history and operations and partnerships throughout the state.”

The SFGATE notes Chevron is one of “the East Bay’s legacy companies joining the trend” to move their headquarters out of the area in recent years. Tech companies such as startups like Coinbase to industry pioneers like Hewlett Packard and Oracle have all vacated, with Elon Musk having been “one particularly outspoken voice decrying California’s business conditions.”

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