Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

Energy Transfer Says ‘Cyber Attack’ Shut Pipeline Data System

Updated on
  • Billionaire Kelcy Warren’s company runs key oil, gas pipelines
  • Third-party electronic data interchange knocked out of action

A cyber attack that hobbled the electronic communication system used by a major U.S. pipeline network has been overcome.

Energy Transfer Partners LP was confident that, after 6 p.m. New York time on Monday, files could safely be exchanged through the EDI platform provided by third-party Energy Services Group LLC, the pipeline company said in a notice. Earlier in the day, it reported a shutdown of the system because of an attack, while saying there was no effect on the flow of natural gas.

Energy Transfer natural gas system

The EDI system conducts business through a computer-to-computer exchange of documents with customers. 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.

Energy Transfer, run by billionaire Kelcy Warren, isn’t the only pipeline company using EDI. Other operators with similar systems include Kinder Morgan Inc. and Tallgrass Energy Partners LP, according to their websites. Representatives for Kinder and Tallgrass said the companies’ systems weren’t affected.

Boardwalk Pipeline Partners LP also had an EDI outage, though it didn’t provide the cause.

The attack didn’t impact operations otherwise and no data was compromised, Vicki Granado, an Energy Transfer spokeswoman, said earlier.

The company’s wide network of pipeline units includes Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co., Transwestern Pipeline Co. and Rover Pipeline LLC.

The Panhandle natural gas pipeline network includes four large-diameter pipelines stretching from the Anadarko Basin of Texas and Oklahoma into several 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 as much as 2.5 percent in New York before paring losses and closing 0.4 percent lower at $16.15. The Department of Homeland Security is gathering further information about the potential cyber intrusion, a spokesman said by email.

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.

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