Aug 12 (Reuters) - The companies developing the Mountain
Valley Southgate natural gas pipeline expansion from Virginia to
North Carolina said on Wednesday they continue to target a 2021
startup for the project after North Carolina regulators denied a
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
denied the permit on Tuesday due to uncertainty around whether
Equitrans Midstream Corp will complete the $5.4-$5.7
billion Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) from West Virginia to
Virginia. A unit of Equitrans is leading the MVP project.
"We are disappointed by the decision," project spokesperson
Shawn Day said, noting "Work on MVP is 92% complete and is
targeted to enter service in early 2021."
MVP is one of several U.S. pipelines delayed by regulatory
and legal fights with environmental and local groups that found
problems with federal permits issued by the Trump
Other projects similarly held up include Dominion Energy
Inc's recently-canceled $8 billion Atlantic Coast gas pipe
from West Virginia to North Carolina.
"(Southgate) has always been an unnecessary project that
poses unnecessary risks to our environment and given the
uncertain future of the MVP Mainline. North Carolinians should
not be exposed to the risk of another incomplete pipeline
project," DEQ Secretary Michael Regan said in a statement.
"North Carolinas clean energy future is not dependent on
adding more gas infrastructure," Regan said.
The North Carolina rejection caused some analysts to
question whether Equitrans will be able to finish Southgate by
the end of 2021, if ever.
"We are skeptical the DEQ will issue the permit until MVP is
fully operating, if ever," analysts at Height Capital Markets
said, noting they expect MVP to enter service in 2021.
When Equitrans started construction on MVP in February 2018,
it estimated the project would cost about $3.5 billion and enter
service by the end of 2018.
(Reporting By Scott DiSavino
Editing by Marguerita Choy)