June 27 (Reuters) - The joint venture building the Mountain
Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia asked
federal regulators for four more years until October 2026 to
complete the long-delayed project.
Mountain Valley - the only big gas pipe under construction
in Appalachia - is one of several U.S. pipeline projects delayed
by regulatory and legal fights with environmental and local
groups that found problems with federal permits issued during
President Donald Trump's administration. i
Specifically, Mountain Valley asked the U.S. Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Friday for the extension due to
ongoing litigation and court remand proceedings related to
several permits and authorizations.
In May, Equitrans Midstream Corp, the lead partner
building the project, said it expected the pipe to enter service
in the second half of 2023 at a cost of around $6.6 billion.
Officials at Equitrans were not immediately available for
When Mountain Valley construction started in February 2018,
Equitrans estimated the 303-mile (488-km),
2-billion-cubic-feet-per-day (bcfd) project would cost about
$3.5 billion and enter service by late 2018.
Earlier this year, Equitrans said total work on the pipeline
was "nearly 94% complete."
Last week, analysts at ClearView Partners said they expect
federal agencies to finish their reviews by the end of 2022 with
construction completion in early 2023.
Several federal agencies need to reissue permits, including
FERC, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Biological Opinion),
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of
Land Management (Right-of-Way across Jefferson National Forest).
Many of those permits were vacated by the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit - some more than once.
Equitrans has a 47.8% ownership interest in Mountain Valley
and will operate the pipeline.
Mountain Valley is owned by units of Equitrans, NextEra
Energy Inc, Consolidated Edison Inc, AltaGas Ltd
and RGC Resources.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)