While considering the complexities involved in natural gas production, logistics maintain an equally important role. The product must be carried to specific locations, but first, the decision must be made on which mode of transport to utilize. With the Marcellus Shale offering 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and the Utica Shale contributing approximately 38 trillion cubic feet of its own, pipelines are slated to fulfill the need. In fact, an abundant supply provided by the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays will assist in making up the expected two million dekatherms per day of firm transmission capacity provided by the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).
“We are very pleased with the recent legal and regulatory progress made on MVP and look forward to getting shovels back in the ground on this important project,” said Diana Charletta, Eqitrans President and Chief Operating Officer. “MVP plays a critical role in meeting the growing demand for reliable, affordable, and clean-burning natural gas in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern United States. We appreciate the oversight of the various state and federal agencies that have helped guide our construction activities and expect to complete the roughly 8% remaining total project work by early 2021.”
MVP ownership and price tag
According to vwnews.com, MVP will link northwestern West Virginia with southern Virginia, spanning approximately 303 miles. With a sticker price of 5.4 billion dollars, construction completion is estimated to occur in early 2021.
Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC is derived from a joint venture which owns MVP and is responsible for its construction. The venture participants include:
- EQM Midstream Partners LP
- NexEra Capital Holdings Inc
- Con Edison Transmission Inc
- WGL Midstream
- RGC Midstream LLC
EQM Midstream Partners will operate the pipeline. Additionally, they will also own a sizable share in the MVP joint venture.
Facing new challenges
Since the project’s start, various opposition levels have met, including private land concerns and environmental impact worries. According to spglobal.com, MVP experienced another wave of denial for its Southgate expansion issued by North Carolina regulators on August 11. Due to uncertainty regarding the mainline’s completion, the operator’s application for a Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification and Jordan Lake Riparian Buffer Authorization were refused.
“The uncertainty of the MVP mainline project’s completion presents a critical risk to the achievability of the fundamental purpose of MVP Southgate,” said the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources. “As the Environmental Impact Statement noted, most of the adverse environmental impacts would occur during construction. Thus, the division finds it is inappropriate to unnecessarily risk affecting high-quality waters and critical drinking water supplies of North Carolinians.”
MVP officials have expressed optimism and expect to regain the North Carolina permits. Southgate’s completion continues to be targeted for 2021. North Carolina law provides that the pipeline company has 60 days to appeal the DEQ decision, as indicated by the Roanoke Times.
Regardless of opposing opinions, one factor remains. Significant dependency has been applied to the MVP outcome and completion. Dominion Energy purchased a North Carolina natural gas company intending to be Southgate’s primary customer. They planned to receive approximately 80% of MVP’s gas and then distribute it to homes and businesses.
“The MVP Southgate team is currently evaluating its options, but continues to target bringing this important project into service in 2021 to meet public demand for natural gas in southern Virginia and central North Carolina,” said Shawn Day, a project spokesman.
Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. Besides providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with eight years of experience. He also contributes to Louisiana Sportsman Magazine and follows and photographs American Kennel Club field and herding trials. Nick has a BA in Photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. 210-240-7188 [email protected]