From Reuters

EQM Midstream Partners LP said on Tuesday it was “unlikely” to complete the long-delayed $4.6 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia during 2019 due to ongoing legal and regulatory challenges.

EQM, however, said in its first-quarter earnings report that the joint venture building the project “continues to target a full in-service date for the fourth quarter 2019.”

When EQM started construction in February 2018, it estimated Mountain Valley would cost about $3.5 billion and be completed by the end of 2018.

The 303-mile (488-km) pipeline is designed to deliver 2 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) of gas to meet growing demand for the fuel for power generation and other uses in the U.S. Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.

One billion cubic feet is enough gas to supply about 5 million U.S. homes for a day.

EQM said it is working through the project’s remaining challenges. Those challenges include securing a Nationwide 12 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for stream and waterbody crossings.

Analysts at Height Capital Markets in Washington, however, said in a report they do not expect Mountain Valley to receive a new Nationwide Permit 12 until the fourth quarter of 2019, which likely will delay the project’s completion until mid-2020.

In addition to Mountain Valley, environmental legal challenges have also slowed construction of Dominion Energy Inc’s $7.0 billion to $7.5 billion Atlantic Coast gas pipe from West Virginia to North Carolina.

Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast are the biggest pipelines under construction to connect growing output in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio with customers in other parts of the United States.

Mountain Valley is owned by units of EQM, NextEra Energy Inc, Consolidated Edison Inc, AltaGas Ltd and RGC Resources Inc. EQM will fund about $2.2 billion of the project and operate the pipe.

Equitrans Midstream Corp, of Pittsburgh, owns the general partner interest and a majority interest in EQM.

EQM is also developing the $555-million Hammerhead project that will run 64 miles (103 km) between Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Hammerhead is designed to feed up to 1.6 bcfd of gas into Mountain Valley and other pipes when it enters service in the fourth quarter of 2019. EQM has a contract to transport 1.2 bcfd on Hammerhead from EQT Corp, the nation’s biggest gas producer and the former parent of EQM and Equitrans.

Legal Notice