Mountain Valley Pipeline Nears Completion, Seeks FERC Approval for June 11 Start

(Reuters) — Mountain Valley, a U.S. natural gas pipeline venture, is seeking authorization from federal regulators for its Virginia pipeline project to be in service by June 11.

The company reported in a filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that the final segments of the project were undergoing final preparations, including purging and packing with natural gas.

The 303-mile (488-km) Mountain Valley project, which has faced regulatory and legal challenges since its inception in 2018, is owned by units of Equitrans, NextEra Energy, Consolidated Edison, AltaGas, and RGC Resources, with Equitrans set to operate the pipeline.

The project's completion is poised to impact U.S. natural gas futures, which held near a 21-week high on Monday. Expectations of increased gas supplies, as indicated by Mountain Valley Pipeline's progress, tempered the futures' gains despite hot weather forecasts driving up demand for air conditioning this week.

While the company announced the pipeline was "mechanically complete" and being "packed with gas," analysts caution that FERC authorization may not occur by the targeted date.

Mountain Valley added in the filing that it had satisfied all aspects of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s Oct. 3, 2023, Consent Order (CO) that were necessary to commence service.

Last month, the company pushed back the target in-service date of its long-delayed pipe from West Virginia to Virginia to early June from the prior target of "prior to June 1".

Meanwhile, earlier in May, the company said it repaired a segment of pipe that failed a water test.

The $7.85 billion Mountain Valley project is the only big gas pipeline under construction in the U.S. Northeast. It has encountered numerous regulatory and court fights that have stopped work several times since construction began in 2018.

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