Analysis by Dr. Nancy Yamaguchi and Mansfield Supply
Colonial Pipeline announced Sunday that it had closed the Line 19 gasoline line near Chattanooga, Tennessee, because of a suspected gasoline leak. An odor of gasoline was reported to the Chattanooga Fire Department. Although Colonial believed that the leak was a small one, it had not located the source of the leak to undertake repairs. The search was focused on an area along Shoal Creek, near the Tennessee River.
Line 19 delivers gasoline to Nashville from Atlanta via Chattanooga. Chattanooga is supplied by Line 18, so its supply is not affected by the closure. Initially, Line 20, the distillate line, was closed as a precaution, but it was soon reopened.
The affected line receives gasoline supply from Line 1 at the Atlanta Junction in Georgia. Line 1 is Colonial’s main line running from Houston, Texas, to Linden, New Jersey. The system includes approximately 5,500 miles of pipe and crosses eleven states. It connects 29 refineries and 267 distribution terminals, and it runs at full capacity.
Readers may recall that Line 1 was closed on September 9th following a leak in Shelby County, Alabama. This led to fuel shortages and price hikes. During repairs, a nine-man crew working on the line hit the line, causing a fatal explosion and fire on October 31st.
The EIA map included here shows the site of the major Line 1 accident, and it also provides details of the network connections, including the lines leading to the Chattanooga distribution area, and the Line 19 route northwest to Nashville. Mansfield Supply will continue to monitor the situation and keep customers informed. While supply has not seen any affects as of Monday morning from the outage, local price volatility is a possibility depending on the duration of the line closure.