Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC (MVP) on Thursday reaffirmed that it’s on track to meet a targeted late 2019 in-service date, announcing that it now expects to have 70% of the project finished by the end of this year.
That’s an improvement from its last update in September, when the company forecast that 50% of the project would be completed by year’s end. Despite various legal and regulatory setbacks, Equitrans Midstream Corp. COO Diana Charletta acknowledged that “we have made substantial progress this year.”
Project backers also reiterated their cost estimate of $4.6 billion. MVP has been plagued by legal challenges, permit issues, work stoppages and bad weather since construction started last February. The issues forced the company in September to increase its cost estimate to $4.6 billion from the initial forecast of $3.5 billion. It was also forced to push back the target in-service date twice over the summer, most recently from 1Q2019 to 4Q2019.
MVP said on Thursday that the portion of the project it expects to be finished this year includes welding on nearly 58% of the pipeline and some of the ongoing work on the compressor stations and interconnects that are expected to be complete by February. Lately, construction crews have been focused on stabilizing the right-of-way for the winter season.
MVP is also working through its latest setback after a federal appeals court issued an opinion late last month substantiating an earlier decision to vacate the project’s Nationwide Permit 12, which led to a suspension of all water crossing work along the entire 300-mile route. The company expects the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a new NWP 12 sometime early next year.
MVP is a joint venture of Equitrans, which recently separated from EQT Corp.’s upstream business, NextEra US Gas Assets LLC, Con Edison Transmission Inc., WGL Midstream and RGC Midstream LLC. The pipeline would move 2 Bcf/d of Appalachian natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia and connect with the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line to deliver more volumes to Southeast markets.