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Mountain Valley Pipeline project work to be 90% complete by year-end 2019

Published by , Deputy Editor
World Pipelines,

Notwithstanding various legal and regulatory challenges during 2019, the Mountain Valley Pipeline project team was able to make significant construction progress. MVP's three compressor stations and three certificated interconnects are now 100% complete; approximately 80% of the pipeline work is also complete, which includes 264 miles of pipe welded and in place. Moreover, approximately 50% of the right-of-way has been fully restored.

“We are pleased with our progress during the past 10 months and, despite the few remaining permitting issues, we remain confident in the regulatory process and look forward to the successful in-service of this important infrastructure project," said Diana Charletta, President and Chief Operating Officer, EQM Midstream Partners, LP, operator of MVP. "We have encountered unforeseen development challenges, however we continue to make progress towards ultimate completion. While the temporary setbacks have caused schedule delays and cost overages, completion of the MVP project is critical to serving the growing demand for domestic natural gas in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the US and we appreciate the oversight of the various state and federal agencies that have helped guide our construction activities."

On 15 October the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a project-wide order halting forward-construction progress in response to the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals order granting a stay of MVP's Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in November 2017. Much of MVP's forward-construction work was already deferred in accordance with MVP's August 2019 voluntary suspension or had been largely winding down for the winter season. The FERC's order directs MVP to focus on restoration and stabilisation activities to protect the environment, which has been a primary focus of the MVP team in its preparation for winter, including enhancing erosion and sediment controls and continuing with restoration work. MVP's late 2020 in-service date and cost adjustment reflects changes to the previously planned construction schedule.

The project's voluntary suspension of forward-construction and inability to work in streams and wetlands prevented MVP from fully completing portions of the route, resulting in a shift of more mainline work into 2020. This resequencing of work has created carrying costs and caused the use of additional time and crews needed to safely maintain the entire 303 mile route over the winter, as opposed to focusing on maintaining only unrestored sections of the route, had construction been fully completed as planned during 2019.

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