FERC Approves Mountain Valley's $7.85 Billion Virginia Gas Pipeline, Operations Set to Begin Soon

(Reuters) — Mountain Valley can begin operating its $7.85 billion Virginia natural gas pipeline after receiving approval from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), according to a filing on Tuesday.

The Mountain Valley project, the only big gas pipeline under construction in the U.S. Northeast, has encountered numerous regulatory and court fights that have stopped work several times since construction began in 2018.

"We find that Mountain Valley has adequately stabilized the areas disturbed by construction and that restoration and stabilization of the construction work area is proceeding satisfactorily," FERC said in its filing.

Mountain Valley asked federal regulators on Monday to authorize its pipeline project from West Virginia to Virginia to be in service by June 11.

When Mountain Valley started construction, lead partner Equitrans Midstream with a roughly 49% interest, estimated the 2.0-billion cubic feet per day project would cost about $3.5 billion and enter service by late 2018.

"Final preparations are underway to begin commercial operations," a spokesperson at Equitrans told Reuters in an email.

It was unclear when gas flows might begin.

The 303-mile (488-km) project is owned by units of Equitrans, NextEra Energy, Consolidated Edison, AltaGas and RGC Resources. Equitrans will operate the pipeline.

Top U.S. natural gas producer EQT Corp. in March agreed to buy Equitrans in an all-stock deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter and bring back a business that EQT spun off in 2018.

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