Aug 2 (Reuters) – U.S. energy company Equitrans Midstream Corp (ETRN.N)still expects to complete the $6.6 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia in the second half of 2023, the company said on Tuesday.
That follows news on Monday that Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin secured a commitment from President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to allow the long-delayed Mountain Valley to be completed.
Manchin’s deal and the announcement boosted Equitrans shares over 10% to a three-month high of $8.72 on Tuesday.
Mountain Valley – the only big gas pipe under construction in Appalachia – is one of several U.S. pipeline projects delayed by regulatory and legal fights with environmental and local groups. These fights stem from federal permit problems issued during President Donald Trump’s administration.
The project is key to unlocking more gas supplies from Appalachia, the nation’s biggest shale gas basin. read more
Equitrans said in its earnings release that the Mountain Valley venture was “engaged in the permitting process with the relevant federal agencies for the outstanding permits required to complete the project.”
Several agencies still need to reissue permits, including the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Biological Opinion), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (Right-of-Way across Jefferson National Forest).
Many of those permits were vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit – some more than once.
When Mountain Valley construction started in February 2018, Equitrans estimated the 303-mile (488-km), 2-billion-cubic-feet-per-day (bcfd) project would cost about $3.5 billion and enter service by late 2018.
Equitrans has said the pipeline was “nearly 94% complete.”
Equitrans said it has a 48.1% ownership interest in Mountain Valley and will operate the pipeline.