Mountain Valley gas line progresses at FERC

OREANDA-NEWS. September 21, 2016. EQT Midstream Partners' 2 Bcf/d (57mn m?/d) Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline project has received a key federal environmental report.

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a draft environmental impact statement last week on the pipeline project, saying adverse environmental effects of construction and operation could be mitigated.

The \\$3.5bn project includes 300 miles (483km) of new pipeline and three new compressor stations in West Virginia.

The project is designed to provide additional takeaway capacity for Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas production to markets in the mid- and south-Atlantic regions of the US, extending from the Equitrans transmission system in Wetzel county, West Virginia, to Transcontinental Gas pipeline's zone 5 compressor station 165 in Pittsylvania county, Virginia. Once the project comes on line, the added flows to station 165 could add downward pressure to spot natural gas prices at Transco zone 5 south, which have averaged a 3?/mmBtu premium to the Henry Hub so far this month.

FERC prepares either an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement for pipeline projects, depending on each project's scope. The environmental impact statement has more steps and includes meetings to hear public comments, as well as a final draft including FERC's response to comments.

In the draft impact statement FERC said that if the project's developers implement mitigation measures its detrimental effects will be reduced. FERC said Equitrans should obtain permits from state resource agencies prior to crossing bodies of water, complete consultations with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and follow an erosion and sediment control plan, among other measures.

FERC is accepting comments on the draft statement through 22 December. After that the agency will issue a final statement, which it will take into consideration when it decides whether to approve the project.

Pending regulatory approval, the project is scheduled to begin service in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The pipeline is a joint venture between EQT Midstream, NextEra Energy, Con Edison, WGL Holdings, Vega Energy and RGC Midstream. Con Edison Transmission in April made a 20-year agreement for firm transportation rights on the pipeline to move about 250mn cf/d.