Rocky Road for Mountain Valley Pipeline Project

Rocky Road for Mountain Valley Pipeline Project

projectA new setback for EQT Midstream Partners LP’s Mountain Valley project, the new pipeline is designed to carry natural gas from the Marcellus basin in Appalachia to the southeast market. The $4.6 billion natural gas pipeline has been delayed by about a year is facing another hurdle. A key permit was vacated by the U.S. appeals court to void a federal authorization.

The court sided with the environmental groups in ruling, stating the Army Corps of Engineers wasn’t allowed to require a specific method of building across rivers after West Virginia had requested a special condition for that project.

The court decision is a major setback for the project and the company.
Mountain Valley has faced a growing legal and regulatory obstacle, which have pushed the project start date to be moved to the fourth quarter of 2019 from its original timeline that was 2018, forcing the developer to raise an estimated cost by almost $1 billion.

Other U.S pipeline projects have face similar fate, like Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast line. The pipeline would join several existing lines in the region. For the past few years Marcellus drillers have sought outlets to their abundant shale supply.

Late June the same court issued a stay on a portion of the Army Corps’ permit which was lifted by August 29th. Since the initial stay, EQT Corp has seen its shares falling 21%.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which oversee state-crossing gas pipelines, will likely halt all construction on the project in response to the last court ruling. The work on the pipeline was ordered to stop for a month after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated a permit from the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service.

When completed the Mountain Valley pipeline will transport Appalachian shale gas from northwestern West Virginia to Southern Virginia. The pipeline is a joint venture with EQT Midstream, NextEra Energy, Consolidated Edison, WGL Holdings and RCG Resources.