The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has given partial permission for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) stabilization plan to move forward. The MVP project is a natural gas pipeline system that spans 300 miles from Northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia retrieving its supply from the Marcellus and Utica shale sites. The pipeline is part of a joint venture of EQT Partners, LP; NextEra US Gas Assets, LLC; Con Edison Transmission, Inc.; WGL Midstream; and RGC Midstream, LLC. The project is expected to supply up to two million dekatherms (dth) per day of transmission capacity to markets in the Mid- and South Atlantic regions of the US. With compressor stations located in Wetzel, Braxton, and Fayette counties of West Virginia.
One week ago FERC stopped construction of the MVP project. This decision came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit questioned the right-of-way permits that were issued by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in the Jefferson National Forest, a three and half mile stretch of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Terry Turpin, Director of FERC’s Office Energy Projects said, “As indicated in your plan, the shutdown presents challenges for stabilization and restoration, and we agree that there are some clear advantages to allowing some limited construction activities to proceed to prevent potential safety and environmental impact.” Agencies are required to explain their reasoning for granting permits and could take some time in listing their rationale behind it. MVP was required to submit a stabilization plan which says it will minimize erosion, protect sensitive resources and topsoil, secure fuels and equipment and address safety concerns, including those associated with open trenches.
MVP’s Midstream partners had planned for the project completion to be done by December of 2018. Since the delay, they have pushed the completion date to Q1 of 2019. Matt Lewis of East Daley Capital Advisors in Colorado said, “Given the administration is pretty pro-infrastructure, I would guess this would be cleared up within a matter of months.” The initial cost of the project was projected to be $3 billion but recently has been revised to $3.7 billion as of last week. Lewis said he wouldn’t be surprised if the MVP project reached $4 billion.