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Mountain Valley Pipeline applies to FERC for pipeline authorisation

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World Pipelines,

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, has formally applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for authorisation to build the MVP Southgate project, a proposed interstate natural gas transmission pipeline designed to provide reliable, cost-effective access to natural gas to meet increasing residential and commercial demand in central North Carolina.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, will construct and own the proposed MVP Southgate, which is a joint venture between EQM Midstream Partners, LP; affiliates of NextEra Energy, Inc.; Consolidated Edison, Inc.; and RGC Resources, Inc.; WGL Midstream, Inc.; and PSNC Energy. EQM Midstream Partners will operate the pipeline and own the largest interest in the joint venture. Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, and PSNC Energy have entered into binding long-term agreements that make PSNC Energy an anchor shipper for the project, and Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, continues discussions with other potential customers. MVP Southgate will tie into the Mountain Valley Pipeline near Chatham, Virginia, and transport supplies of Marcellus and Utica natural gas to delivery points in Rockingham and Alamance counties in North Carolina for distribution to PSNC Energy’s residential and commercial customers. As currently proposed, the MVP Southgate project is approximately 73 miles long; pending regulatory approval, construction is anticipated to begin in 1Q20, with a full in-service date targeted for 4Q20.

Through this certificate application filing, the FERC is being asked to certify the public convenience and necessity of the MVP Southgate project. The FERC, together with co-operating agencies, will conduct a detailed review and evaluation of a broad number of subjects, including public safety; water resources; air quality; wildlife, soils, and vegetation; protected species; cultural and historic resources; sound levels; alternatives; and economic benefits.

On 15 May 2018, the FERC granted authorisation to begin the pre-filing process for the MVP Southgate project. During the past six months, the MVP Southgate team has conducted three open houses, in addition to participating in three scoping meetings hosted by the FERC, all aimed at encouraging an open dialogue with community members, landowners and public agencies in order to receive comments and feedback on the MVP Southgate project. On 24 September, Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, provided responses to scoping comments in a filing to the FERC.

The certificate application is a collection of information gathered before and during the FERC pre-filing process. This comprehensive set of documentation includes extensive research from environmental, geological and economic studies conducted by the MVP Southgate project team and outside experts, as well as intelligence gathered during discussions with landowners along the route, local elected officials and others.

The MVP Southgate project team considered a wide range of alternatives and variations to the proposed route, and made 191 route adjustments in response to feedback collected during the pre-filing process. The proposed route identified in the application encompasses these various revisions, which include the protection of streams, wetlands, and cultural resources, as well as the avoidance of, or minimisation of impacts to, several sensitive areas. Examples of such adjustments include:

  • Reduction in temporary right-of-way width from 100 ft to 75 ft at wetland and waterbody crossings.
  • Proposal to cross Cascade Creek, Wolf Island Creek, and Deep Creek via conventional bore based on recommendations from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Reduction in the number of proposed compressor stations from two to one.

"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,” said Diana Charletta, Chief Operating Officer of EQM Midstream Partners, LP, operator of the proposed pipeline. “We are committed to building and operating a state-of-the-art pipeline that serves public demand for clean-burning, affordable, domestic natural gas.”

The MVP Southgate project’s primary objective is to serve customers of PSNC Energy, a local distribution company in North Carolina. The partnership with PSNC Energy is designed to strengthen the reliability of natural gas service in central North Carolina. Additionally, other markets along the project area will have the ability to access the MVP Southgate project, which in turn could attract manufacturing opportunities to the area. Having a safe, reliable source of natural gas is important to secure industry growth and stimulate job creation and spending throughout the region.

“Over the past decade, PSNC Energy has added more than 100 000 new natural gas customers,” said Rusty Harris, President and Chief Operating Officer of PSNC Energy. “We are committed to ensuring the highest levels of service to the homes and businesses that rely on natural gas for heating, cooking and other uses, and the MVP Southgate project offers the most efficient and cost-effective way to enhance reliability and provide the diversity of supply needed to meet our customers’ needs.”

Gary Salamido, Chief Operating Officer and Acting President of the NC Chamber, said, “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. 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.”

Barry DuVal, President of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, also endorsed the project, stating, “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.”

From an economic benefits perspective, the MVP Southgate project is expected to bring significant benefits to Virginia and North Carolina, and the counties along its route, based on findings from FTI Consulting, Inc. (FTI) – the company that managed and produced the MVP Southgate project economic benefits report. FTI took a conservative approach to estimating the state-level impacts related to the MVP Southgate. The MVP Southgate project estimates:

  • Spending US$68 million in Virginia and US$113 million in North Carolina on labour, equipment, materials, acquisition and services.
  • Employment at the peak of construction to support 570 jobs in Virginia and 1130 jobs in North Carolina, including direct, indirect, and induced jobs.
  • Annual MVP Southgate ad valorem taxes for Virginia are estimated at approximately US$1.2 million once the pipeline is operational, and approximately US$3.4 million in North Carolina once the project is operational.
  • State and local tax revenues generated during pre-construction and construction are an estimated US$4.1 million in Virginia and US$6.3 million in North Carolina (e.g. sales, use, income, property and other tax categories).

The application and resource reports, along with proposed route maps, are available on the MVP Southgate website; and paper copies will be placed in public libraries or community buildings located in counties along the proposed route.

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