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Southern Natural Suspends Offshore Pipe Repairs; Toca Facility Repaired

Offshore repairs to the Southern Natural Gas pipeline system in the Gulf of Mexico were suspended last week because of adverse weather conditions, the operator said in a posting on its website. New projected in service dates for the receipt points east of Main Pass 298 junction platform and for receipt points on damaged laterals will be posted after the repairs resume, the El Paso affiliate said.

The Southern system, with 3 Bcf/d of capacity, supplies natural gas to markets in southeastern states. The system was damaged during Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, and again this year during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Weather conditions were expected to improve by the end of the week for work to resume, according to El Paso. Tennessee Gas Pipeline, another El Paso offshore pipe system, said a few days ago it has repaired most of its main lines in the Gulf and made "significant progress" on other pipeline recovery efforts (see NGI, Nov. 28).

Enterprise Product Partners LP, which processes some of El Paso's gas, said last week the second natural gas processing plant at its Toca facility in St. Bernard Parish, LA has returned to service after repairs of damage caused by Hurricane Katrina were completed. The plant's total gas processing capacity of 1.1 Bcf/d is now fully operational. The Toca facility is currently processing about 550 MMcf/d of gas originating from the Southern and the Tennessee pipelines.

Traditionally, the Toca plant processed gas exclusively from the Southern system while volumes from the Tennessee system were dedicated to the Yscloskey, LA natural gas processing plant. Because of hurricane damage to the Yscloskey plant, the Toca plant is currently processing about 100 MMcf/d of natural gas from the Tennessee system. Current expectations are for volumes at the Toca facility to increase to 750 MMcf/d by the end of 2005 and return to pre-storm levels of approximately 550 MMcf/d once the Yscloskey processing facility is fully operational in 2006.

Enterprise owns approximately 60.3% of the Toca plant and is the operator. It also owns 29.4% of the Yscloskey facility, which is operated by Targa Resources Inc.

According to a report issued last week by the Department of Energy, a total of nine gas processing plants in Louisiana, with capacities equal to or more than 100 MMcf/d, remained inactive as of Nov. 15. With Toca 1 repairs now completed, eight processors still remain shuttered.

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