'Cyber attack' shuts energy transfer's pipeline data system
(Bloomberg) -- A system that digitally processes customer transactions for a major pipeline network in the U.S. was shut down Monday after a cyber attack.
The electronic data interchange provided by third-party Energy Services Group LLC for Energy Transfer Partners LP’s natural gas pipeline system was attacked Monday and will be hobbled until “further notice,” Energy Transfer said in a notice to shippers.
The shutdown could affect a network of major pipelines owned by subsidiaries, including Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company, which owns lines from Michigan to Texas, Transwestern Pipeline Company LLC and Rover Pipeline LLC. The EDI system, designed to cut costs and boost speed, is used to conduct business through a computer-to-computer exchange of documents.
Though it’s not clear who was responsible for the attack, it comes after U.S. officials warned in March that Russian hackers are conducting a broad assault on the nation’s electric grid and other targets. Last month, Atlanta’s municipal government was hobbled for several days by a ransomware attack.
“This situation has not impacted our operations. We are handling all scheduling in house during this time,” Vicki Granado, a spokeswoman for Energy Transfer, said in an emailed statement. Energy Services Group was not immediately available for comment.
Energy Transfer, run by billionaire Kelcy Warren, isn’t the only pipeline company using EDI. Other operators with the system include Kinder Morgan Inc. and Tallgrass Energy Partners LP, according to their websites. Kinder Morgan wasn’t affected, spokeswoman Melissa Ruiz said in an email. Tallgrass didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Panhandle natural gas pipeline network includes four large-diameter pipelines stretching from the Anadarko Basin of Texas and Oklahoma into several other midwestern states. The Trunkline system, which extends from the Gulf Coast into the Southeast and Midwest, and the Sea Robin system in the Gulf of Mexico are also part of the Panhandle network.
Shares of Energy Transfer fell 2.3 percent to $15.8535 at 2:16 p.m. in New York. The Department of Homeland Security didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Transwestern pipeline system connects gas supplies in the Rockies and the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico to customers in California, Arizona and Nevada. The Rover pipeline, also controlled by Energy Transfer, is designed to transport gas from West Virginia and Ohio to markets in the Midwest and Canada.
--With assistance from Naureen S. Malik