By Julia Payne
LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Tanker and barge shipments in and out of Europe’s biggest oil hub have been delayed by up to a week as four storage companies scramble to resume operations after cyber attacks, sources familiar with the matter said.
Since the end of last week, storage company Oiltanking and oil trading firm Mabanaft, both owned by Germany’s Marquard & Bahls, have been hit by hackers. Belgium’s SEA-TANK and Dutch fuel storage firm Evos have also been affected.
The companies have had to suspend some operations, affecting oil flows in the Netherlands, Belgium and across Germany. It is not clear whether the cyber attacks are linked.
German newspaper Handelsblatt reported that Oiltanking and Mabanaft were attacked with a ransomware programme. The companies declined to comment.
They declared force majeure on their German operations earlier this week and oil major Shell stepped in to re-route alternative supplies.
A source close to Mabanaft said petrol stations were working normally but truck loadings were still problematic.
SEA-TANK and Evos, meanwhile, have storage in and around the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp oil hub, with their problems leading to crowding outside the port.
At least seven fuel tankers were sitting off the coast of Belgium waiting to load in Antwerp, according to Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking data. The Port of Antwerp authority declined to comment.
Barges due to move fuel between ports and inland down the Rhine River also suffered delays.
“The outages impact the entire chain because ships have had to be re-routed to other functional ports. Some barge operators have delays of around a week to move fuel inland or between refineries and depots in the area,” Lars van Wageningen of market intelligence firm Insights Global said.
SEA-TANK operates five locations in the port of Antwerp. They were forced to cut capacity starting from Sunday. A source familiar with the matter said they were “back to normal but not at full speed” as of Friday. SEA-TANK’s parent company SEA-Invest did not immediately respond to a comment request.
Evos said on Friday it had suffered delays at its terminals in Terneuzen in the Netherlands, Ghent in Belgium and Malta.
“Evos continues to operate at all its terminals …. The source of the disruption is being investigated,” a spokesperson said. (Reporting by Julia Payne, additional reporting by Ron Bousso, Rowena Edwards, Toby Sterling in Amsterdam and Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt Editing by Mark Potter)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022.
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