Equitrans Midstream Weighing Options as Court Blocks Mountain Valley Project

(Reuters) — Pipeline operator Equitrans Midstream said on Tuesday it is evaluating all legal options, including an emergency appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court, after an appellate court halted construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline project in the Jefferson National Forest.

The pipeline received authorization from the country's energy regulator last month to restart construction and is key to unlocking more gas supplies from Appalachia, the nation's biggest shale gas basin.

RELATED: Mountain Valley Clears Permit Hurdle for 303-Mile Pipeline Project in Virginia

The $6.6 billion Mountain Valley project is one of several U.S. oil and gas pipelines delayed by regulatory and legal fights with environmental and local groups.

"Unless this decision is promptly reversed, it would jeopardize Mountain Valley's ability to complete construction by year-end 2023," the company said in a statement.

Mountain Valley is owned by units of Equitrans, NextEra Energy Inc., Consolidated Edison Inc., AltaGas Ltd. and RGC Resources Inc.

RELATED: US Mountain Valley Gas Pipeline Moving Forward, Capacity May Be Limited

Federal approval for the 303-mile (488-km) project was placed into the text of the budget deal between U.S. President Joe Biden and House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The pipeline is backed Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, whose vote is often needed since the Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate.

When Mountain Valley started construction in February 2018, Equitrans estimated the project would cost about $3.5 billion and enter service by late 2018.

Shares of the company fell 5.8% in premarket trading following the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Monday.

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