Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC is seeking an extension from FERC that would give the operator until October 2026 to finish construction on the delayed Appalachia-to-Southeast natural gas conduit.

MVP

In a letter filed last Friday, MVP asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for more time to finish construction in light of “ongoing legal and permitting challenges.” A deadline extension would also “provide clarity and certainty to project stakeholders, including the federal agencies that are currently working to reissue permits,” MVP told FERC.

First receiving a FERC certificate in 2017, the 300-mile, 2 million Dth/d MVP has faced numerous legal and regulatory setbacks that have delayed startup and driven up costs.

In the spring, the Democratic-led FERC signed off on an amendment to MVP’s certificate allowing for modifications to 183 waterbody crossings, an important step in a revamped permitting strategy aimed at getting the stalled project over the finish line.

During a period of elevated energy prices and geopolitical turmoil, MVP also enjoys the backing of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

MVP last sought an extension in 2020 as the three-year deadline for completing construction stipulated in its 2017 certificate order came and went. The two-year extension granted in 2020 runs through October.

The operator is likely to secure the extension it seeks, in part because current Chairman Richard Glick did not dissent in the 2020 decision to give the pipeline more time to finish construction, analysts at ClearView Energy Partners LLC told clients.

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“We also think that” Manchin’s “overt support for moving MVP forward contributes to a political environment that bodes favorably for approval of an extension request,” the ClearView analysts said. “After all, MVP’s fate appears to lie more with the successful acquisition of new permits from the Forest Service and Fish & Wildlife Service than from FERC.”

MVP, proposed to transport Appalachian Basin production from West Virginia to an interconnect with the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line in Virginia, is a joint venture of EQM Midstream Partners LP; NextEra Capital Holdings Inc.; Con Edison Transmission Inc.; WGL Midstream; and RGC Midstream LLC.