Quickly Finishing MVP in Best Interest of Consumers, Environment, Equitrans Says

By Maddy McCarty, P&GJ Digital Editor

The joint venture behind Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) still targets an in-service date late this year and believes previous applications will contribute to an efficient permitting process, a spokeswoman said.

Map and data provided by Global Energy Infrastructure and Energy Web Atlas. Click to enlarge.
Map and data provided by Global Energy Infrastructure and Energy Web Atlas. Click to enlarge.

MVP, which is owned by Equitrans Midstream, NextEra Energy, Consolidated Edison, AltaGas and RGC Resources Inc, is estimated to cost $5.8-6 billion.

The natural gas pipeline will be 303 miles (488 km) long, and the project includes construction of pipeline and three compressor stations, according to project data from Global Energy Infrastructure. More than 264 miles of pipe was already constructed in February, a representative said.


The companies involved in the project decided in January to abandon their plan to use a blanket permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which would have allowed the project to cross all streams and wetlands along its route from West Virginia to Virginia. The blanket permit was challenged in court, as states and environmental groups did with several permits issued by the Trump administration.

Some analysts predict seeking individual permits will take long enough to push the pipeline’s in-service date into 2022.

“MVP continues to target a late 2021 in-service date and is following all procedures for the USACE’s Individual Permit process and related FERC amendment process, adhering to the requirements and decisions of each agency,” said Natalie Cox, a director of communications for Equitrans Midstream, in an emailed statement. “MVP’s submissions build upon the applications previously considered by the respective federal and state agencies, and we believe that an efficient permitting process, including all required public participation, can be completed in a timely manner.”

There are almost 500 streams and wetlands along the route, which will provide the only direct path for western Marcellus and Utica producers to supply customers, end users and consumers in the southeast with access to low-cost Marcellus gas. The agencies involved have a long-standing, in-depth knowledge of the project, Cox said, adding the agencies understand the significant regulatory record developed since 2015.


MVP’s original in-service date was late 2018, and delays have been costly to both developers and consumers. The price of the project has increased from an estimated $3.5 billion.

Roanoke Natural Gas, an MVP end-user, issued a news release in February about a 68% increase in the price of gas due to the winter storm in Texas.

“This is a real-time, real-world example of the need for the (MVP) and the gas it will supply our customers and others throughout the United States,” Roanoke Gas President and CEO Paul Nester said.

“If the MVP had been in service, we believe we would have saved our customers significant commodity gas costs by delivering gas from the prolific and affordable Appalachian Basin.”

The risk of this happening again remains until the region has additional gas supply from the MVP, Cox said. While existing pipelines have access to Northeast, Midwest and Gulf Coast markets, MVP will add the Southeast market, she said, adding the pipeline developers have consistently seen a growing need for the pipeline.

Compared to the 2015 gas demand forecast, the Energy Information Administration expects a 25% incremental demand increase for the South Atlantic Region this year, Cox said.

Many landowners along the route are also suffering because of the delays and ongoing legal challenges, Cox said.

“They want Mountain Valley to complete construction, achieve final restoration, and return their lands for their private use,” she said.

MVP’s efforts to minimize its environmental footprint and implement best practices are reflected in its new applications, Cox said.

“The best environmental outcome for water quality, aquatic and terrestrial habitat, and the interests of landowners in the vicinity of the MVP project is for construction to be completed,” she said.

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