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    Mountain Valley Pipeline seeks construction extension


Sponsors still hope to finish the long-delayed pipeline next year.

by: Dale Lunan

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Mountain Valley Pipeline seeks construction extension

The joint venture leading construction of the long-delayed Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in the Appalachian basin has asked federal regulators for a four-year extension to the project’s construction deadline, but still expects to place the 2bn ft3/day pipeline in service next year.

In a June 24 filing to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), MVP asked for a second extension to the deadline, to October 13, 2026. It cited “ongoing litigation and remand proceedings related to several permits and authorisations” in making its request.

Earlier this year, in two separate rulings, the US Court of Appeals for the 4thCircuit vacated certain US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management approvals covering a portion of the pipeline through the Jefferson National Forest and quashed a 2020 biological opinion from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

New applications for the relevant approvals are currently wending their way through the review and approval process, MVP said in its FERC filing, which asked that the commission issue a ruling on the extension request by August 8 so that reviewing agencies and stakeholders reviewing the new applications have the benefit of FERC’s central federal authorisation.

MVP also noted in its filing that it expects “vigorous opposition” to the extension request as opponents “will stop at nothing in their attempts to kill the project.” Such attempts at this stage, it said, “are improper collateral attacks” and “need not be considered further.”

The MVP joint venture, led by US midstream developer Equitrans and including partners NextEra Energy, Consolidated Edison, Canada’s AltaGas and RGC Resources, originally filed for the project in 2017, at which time it expected the $3.5bn pipeline, extending about 300 miles across Virginia and West Virginia, could be completed and in service by 2018. 

In May, Equitrans said it intended to push ahead with the now $6.6bn project, and suggested the pipeline, now about 94% complete, could be in service in the second half of 2023.