After receiving federal approve for drilling under the Roanoke River, the Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC (MVP) aims for a full in-service date in early 2021.
On June 11, Mountain Valley provided a schedule and timing update in preparation for completion of its 303-mile natural gas transmission line. Total project work is approximately 92 percent complete.
Mountain Valley Pipeline received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to drill under the Roanoke River in southwest Virginia. Construction of the Mountain Valley pipeline has been stalled because of federal permits and legal challenges. The pipeline company hopes to have all the needed permits in place for the project by the end of 2020.
The $5.5 billion project is owned by joint-venture partners EQM Midstream Partners, NextEra US Gas Assets, Con Edison Transmission, WGL Midstream and RGC Midstream. The 42-in. natural gas pipeline will run from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia, with a capacity of approximately 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) from the Marcellus and Utica shale region.
“First and foremost, we are confident in the ultimate completion of this important infrastructure project,” said Diana Charletta, president and chief operating officer, EQM Midstream Partners LP, operator of MVP. “We appreciate the oversight of the various state and federal agencies that have helped guide our construction activities, and despite the unprecedented regulatory and development challenges, we have completed 92% of total project work. While the additional legal and regulatory reviews have caused schedule delays and cost adjustments, we look forward to MVP’s safe, successful start-up and to serving the growing demand for domestic natural gas in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States.”
For the last several months, Mountain Valley’s primary focus has been continued environmental stabilization and restoration work, and maintenance of existing erosion and sediment controls along the right-of-way. Forward construction is anticipated to resume when MVP receives its Biological Opinion and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission lifts the project’s Stop Work Order.
MVP’s 2021 in-service date reflects changes to the previously planned construction schedule, which includes the continued timing uncertainty of permits for crossing the Jefferson National Forest and Appalachian Trail, roughly 3.7 miles; and waterbodies, which total approximately 10 miles of pipe.
In connection with the adjusted in-service date, total project costs for MVP may potentially increase roughly 5% above the project’s $5.4 billion estimate, primarily due to the need to adapt to complex judicial decisions and regulatory changes – creating carrying costs and requiring supplemental crews to safely maintain the entire 303-mile route during the halt of construction and through the upcoming winter months.
MVP’s current construction statistics: the three compressor stations are 100 percent complete; the three original certificated interconnects are 100 percent complete and a fourth has been approved for construction in 2020; approximately 80 percent of the pipeline work is complete, which includes 264 miles of pipe welded and in-place; and approximately 50 percent of the right-of-way has been fully restored.
Since the onset of the project, Mountain Valley has retained five key stakeholder priorities: design a route with the least overall impact to landowners and communities; minimize impacts to sensitive species and preserve cultural, historical, and environmental resources; construct the pipeline in the safest manner possible; maintain high levels of environmental protection at all times; and ensure the safety of MVP’s landowners, communities, inspectors, employees, and contractors.