Home U.S Huge £6.1bn plan for pipeline to ship gas across US gets green...

Huge £6.1bn plan for pipeline to ship gas across US gets green light


Government regulators have give the greenlight for a vast £6.1bn natural gas pipeline set to run 303 miles through two US states.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted approval on Tuesday for Equitrans Midstream Corp. to begin operations at its Mountain Valley Pipeline, marking the end of a long legal and regulatory battle over the project.

Terry Turpin, the watchdog’s director of the office of energy projects, delivered the news to the firm on Tuesday, confirming that the pipeline meets all necessary safety and environmental regulations, Politico reports.

Supporters of the pipeline, that will ship natural gas from West Virginia into Virginia, say it will help move natural gas from Marcellus and Utica shale deposits to markets in the mid- and south Atlantic U.S. alleviating the demand for energy.

But the project has been beset by various state and federal legal and regulatory challenges. Last year the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration warned that the local region could face safety and environmental risks.

The pipeline had been set to start operations in May, but the service date was delayed so that additional tests could be carried out.

A rupture had occurred on May 1, prompting locals and environmental groups to call for a further review, and the project continues to face passionate opposition.

Speaking to Virginia news outlet Cardinal News, Denali Nalamalapu, co-director of the Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights (POWHR) coalition, said: “We’ve known from the start that MVP is an impossible project and its ballooning price tag reflects that.

“It is devastating to see nearly $8 billion poured into a needless methane gas pipeline that is destroying our mountains and endangering us, when that money could be going towards meaningfully addressing the climate crisis.”

But in its letter on Tuesday, FERC said the pipeline development firm’s recent status reports, FERC monitoring and mid-May staff inspection was in compliance with FERC environmental conditions.

The regulator said it has also been in communication with PHMSA. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is expected to transport as much as two billion cubic feet of natural gas West Virginia through six Virginia counties per day.

The pipeline’s lead developer said this week it anticipates the project will have a final price tag of around $7.85 billion (£6.1billion).

It previously announced the project would cost in the region of $7.57 billion to $7.63 billion, making the new estimate $220million (£172million) higher than the upper range it anticipated.

Lead developer of the pipline joint venture Equitrans Midstream a recent slower-than-expected pace of construction, and expenses related to restoring land after construction lead to the new estimate.

Equitrans Midstream and The Mountain Valley Pipeline Project have been approached for comment.

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