Less than one week after receiving regulatory approval from FERC, EQT Midstream Partners LP (EQM) is slowly bringing its Ohio Valley Connector (OVC) pipeline into service.

The 37-mile pipeline, which would provide up to 850 MMcf/d of capacity, flowed 259.7 MMcf of natural gas on Wednesday. Flows registered at 121.4 MMcf on Saturday, 150.4 MMcf on Sunday and 20 MMcf on Tuesday. No gas flowed on the pipeline on Monday.

OVC is backed by a 20-year transportation service agreement with EQT Energy LLC, an affiliate of EQT Corp., for 650 MMcf/d of firm transmission capacity. In a statement Tuesday, EQM said OVC will accept full nominations following a standard operational ramp-up period.

"The completion of the OVC enhances our extensive Appalachian pipeline network and provides our customers with additional market diversity by offering access to growing demand markets in the Midwest," said Randy Crawford, EQM’s COO. "Our transmission and storage system now connects with all the major interstate pipelines in the [Appalachian] Basin and offers shippers multiple options to meet their transportation needs.

"The OVC is another example of our ability to strategically expand our pipeline footprint and create value for our unitholders by investing in projects that earn attractive returns."

NGI has incorporated the OVC receipt point into its Rockies Express Zone 3 Tracker. The receipt point is labeled as “EQT OVC/REX ISALY MONROE.”

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the company satisfied the environmental conditions outlined in the certificate of public convenience and necessity it issued for the project last December [CP15-41] (see Shale DailySept. 29).

Since capacity utilization into REX Section 390 in eastern Ohio has generally been running at full, flows on OVC would have to come at the expense of receipts at other points into the area, until the Zone 3's east-to-west REX expansion from 1.8 Bcf/d to 2.6 Bcf/d comes online, which is expected to occur before the end of the year (see Shale DailySept. 14).

OVC includes 37 miles of new pipeline, two new compressor stations with combined 36,000 hp and three interconnections with other pipelines in the region. Specifically, OVC includes about 36.2 miles of 30-inch diameter pipeline from Wetzel County, WV, to Monroe County, OH; 0.2 miles of 20-inch diameter pipeline in Monroe County, and 0.6 miles of 16-inch diameter pipeline in Wetzel County. One compressor station was built in Monroe County and the other in Wetzel County.