Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC (MVP) has filed with FERC for a certificate to build and operate its Southgate Project, a proposed 73-mile add-on that would extend the 300-mile Appalachia-to-Southeast project from Virginia into North Carolina.

MVP held an open season earlier this year to gauge potential interest in Southgate, and Tuesday’s filing for a Natural Gas Act certificate from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission makes it official [CP19-14].

Southgate would provide 300,000 Dth/d to North Carolina-based PSNC Energy, a local distribution company and Scana Corp. subsidiary. The utility has signed a 20-year precedent agreement for the capacity.

The project proposes constructing about 31 miles of 24-inch diameter pipe from the MVP mainline in Pittsylvania County, VA, to the Dan River Interconnect with PSNC in Rockingham County, NC; about 42 miles of 16-inch diameter pipeline from the Dan River Interconnect to an interconnect with PSNC Energy facilities at Haw River in Alamance County, NC; a 28,915 hp compressor station in Pittsylvania County; and an interconnect with East Tennessee Natural Gas Transmission LLC, along with other facilities and equipment.

Management for MVP said the Southgate team evaluated a “wide range of alternatives and variations to the proposed route,” including making 191 route adjustments based on feedback collected during the pre-filing process.

MVP, a joint venture of EQT Midstream Partners LP, NextEra US Gas Assets LLC, Con Edison Transmission Inc., WGL Midstream and RGC Midstream LLC, currently is constructing a 300-mile greenfield project to transport 2 Bcf/d from West Virginia into Virginia to an interconnect with Transco (aka, the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line) in Pittsylvania County.

Since construction began on the MVP mainline earlier this year, the project has encountered a number of legal setbacks that have delayed start-up and driven up costs, including a temporary work stoppage after a federal appeals court pulled key authorizations included in its FERC certificate.

In October, the same federal appeals court vacated MVP’s Nationwide Permit 12 water crossing permit, issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. MVP later lost all water crossing approvals as the various Army Corps districts have suspended the project’s permits in response to the court’s decision.

Earlier, FERC also split on the decision to issue a certificate to the controversial pipeline, with Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur questioning whether building both MVP and the similarly routed 1.5 Bcf/d Atlantic Coast Pipeline was in the public convenience and necessity.

“We appreciate the many landowners, elected leaders, officials at every level of government, and other stakeholders who provided important feedback that helped us design the proposed route,” EQT Midstream COO Diana Charletta said. “We are committed to building and operating a state-of-the-art pipeline that serves public demand for clean-burning, affordable, domestic natural gas.”

PSNC COO Rusty Harris touted the Southgate project as “the most efficient and cost-effective way to enhance reliability and provide the diversity of supply needed to meet our customers’ needs.”

Business leaders with the Virginia and North Carolina (NC) chambers of commerce also came out in support of the project Tuesday.

“The NC Chamber supports the MVP Southgate project because it will improve access to affordable natural gas and help strengthen North Carolina’s reputation as a leading place in the world to do business,” said North Carolina Chamber COO Gary Salamido. “Many employers rely on natural gas to fuel their operations and the construction of the MVP Southgate project will bolster efforts to attract and retain businesses in North Carolina.”

Added Virginia Chamber President Barry DuVal, “Time and again we hear from manufacturers and other large companies that the availability of natural gas is a critical component in the site selection process. The Southern Virginia Mega Site at Berry Hill is the commonwealth’s biggest business park, and the MVP Southgate project’s proximity to that site offers tremendous long-term economic development opportunities. The Virginia Chamber fully supports the project and the potential benefits its construction and operation could bring.”

MVP is targeting full in-service for Southgate in 4Q2020. Full start-up for the MVP mainline, originally scheduled for 4Q2018, has been pushed back to 4Q2019.