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After Delaying In-Service to 2019, Atlantic Coast Pipeline Inks Contractor

After acknowledging its target in-service date would be delayed because of a lengthy federal review process, Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC (ACP) said Wednesday it has selected Spring Ridge Constructors LLC to build the 600-mile natural gas transmission project.

The selection of Spring Ridge, which is a joint venture of Price Gregory International Inc., U.S. Pipeline Inc., SMPC LLC and Rockford Corp., comes after Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell revealed earlier this month that ACP would delay its in-service date based on FERC’s environmental review timeline.

Dominion has signed on to build and operate ACP through a joint venture with Duke Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Company Gas, which operated as AGL Resources before its merger with Southern Company earlier this year (see Daily GPI, July 5). The 1.5 Bcf/d pipeline would start in Harrison County, WV, and run southeast through Virginia and North Carolina, with a lateral to southeastern Virginia. A major proposed takeaway project for the capacity-constrained Marcellus and Utica shales, ACP would supply Northeast gas to serve power generation and heating demand in the Southeast.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission released a notice of schedule for ACP last month that set a June 30, 2017, deadline for the final environmental impact statement (EIS), with a 90-day federal authorization deadline of Sept. 28, 2017 (see Daily GPI, Aug. 12).

During the Barclays 2016 Global CEO Energy-Power Conference in New York earlier this month, Farrell acknowledged that FERC’s schedule means ACP’s in-service date is “going to slide into 2019” from the previous target of 4Q2018. “It will come online -- depending upon when we can get [FERC’s] order and how much time we can work on construction in the summer and early fall of 2017 -- it’ll come online in the first few months of 2019 or in the latter part of 2019,” he said, noting at the time that discussions were still underway with contractors.

ACP said Wednesday it anticipates the project beginning service in “late 2019,” with construction starting by fall 2017, when FERC’s final decision on the project is due. A draft EIS for ACP is expected sometime this year. Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, which has a similar route to ACP and filed its application with FERC around the same time last fall, received its DEIS late last week (see Shale Daily, Sept. 16).

Like many pipeline projects of late, ACP has encountered pushback from environmentalists and landowners as it has sought approval to build its pipeline along a route that includes two national forests and hilly, rural terrain along the West Virginia/Virginia mountains. In response to concerns raised by the U.S. Forest Service, ACP had to develop a significant route change to avoid impacting a number of protected species and habitats in the Monongahela and George Washington national forests. This route change led FERC to schedule additional scoping meetings earlier this year in the newly affected areas along the altered route (see Daily GPI, May 3).

Dominion Energy President Diane Leopold said Wednesday the contractor selected is up to the challenge the massive $4.5-5 billion pipeline presents. Spring Ridge “has assembled four of the nation’s leading and most-qualified pipeline builders for this project,” she said. “These companies have extensive experience in building large-scale, complex projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and their commitment to safe construction practices and best-in-class standards align with our expectations for the project.”

Finalizing the contractor marks “another significant milestone for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and represents one more step toward making this project a reality and securing the energy future of our region,” she added.

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