In an update to its hurricane damage assessment, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) sharply increased the number of pipelines listed as damaged by Katrina and Rita last year to 457 from 183 based on additional industry assessments and investigations. It also raised the number of large diameter pipelines (10 inches in diameter or larger) damaged to 101 from 64 but noted that 32 have now returned to service.

MMS Gulf of Mexico Regional Director Chris Oynes said that underwater damage assessments have been hindered by "overwhelmed support resources, such as diving equipment, support vessels and remotely operated vehicles, but we are moving ahead as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances."

MMS lowered the number of platforms destroyed to 113 from 115. One well was mistaken for a platform and one platform thought to be destroyed was only damaged, the agency said. Of the 113 that were destroyed, four replacements have been installed to take the place of eight destroyed platforms with prehurricane production of 16,700 bbl/d of oil.

Meanwhile, four large facilities with production shut in are in the process of being returned to service: Shell's Mars platform in Mississippi Canyon Block 206 is projected to return to production by mid year; Total's Matterhorn facility in Mississippi Canyon Block 243 is currently in the process of being returned; Shell's Cognac facility in Mississippi Canyon Block 194 is expected to return in the fourth quarter; and Kerr-McGee's Red Hawk platform in Garden Banks Block 876 is currently in the process of being returned.

In its most recent update to shut-in statistics, MMS said 1,3351 MMcf/d of gas production and 334,019 bbl/d of oil production remained shut in and 87 platforms were still evacuated as of April 19. Cumulative production shut-ins as of that date totaled 148.9 million bbl of oil and 730.5 Bcf of gas.

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