Sept 8 (Reuters) - U.S. pipeline company Equitrans Midstream
Corp said on Tuesday it remains on track to complete
the $5.4-$5.7 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from
West Virginia to Virginia early next year.
That comment follows a decision by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service (FWS) to issue a new Biological Opinion on
Sept. 4, which the project needs to resume construction.
Mountain Valley is one of several U.S. oil and gas pipelines
delayed by regulatory and legal fights with environmental and
local groups that found problems with federal permits issued by
the Trump administration.
In February 2018 when Equitrans started construction of the
303-mile (488-km) pipeline designed to deliver 2 billion cubic
feet per day of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale, it
estimated Mountain Valley would cost about $3.5 billion and be
completed by the end of 2018.
"We look forward to resolving the few remaining permitting
issues, resuming forward construction," Equitrans said.
Equitrans has said it expects to receive new approvals soon
from the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that will enable it to finish
building the last 8% of the project.
Analysts at Height Capital Markets said they expect FERC
will lift its stop-work order in "coming days" and the Army
Corps will reauthorize the project's Nationwide Permit 12 to
allow stream crossing "shortly thereafter."
"We expect environmentalists and other opponents will
challenge each of these permit decisions ... within 1-2 weeks of
issuance," Height Capital Markets said, noting "FERC and FWS
have had nearly a year to review the permit, so it should be
relatively insulated from legal challenges."
Other projects similarly held up include TC Energy Corp's
$8 billion Keystone XL and Energy Transfer LP's
Dakota Access crude pipelines, which are still involved in court
(Reporting By Scott DiSavino
Editing by Marguerita Choy)