The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 488km-long interstate pipeline project to supply up to two billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas a day from West Virginia to Virginia, in the US.

EQM Midstream Partners holds a 45.5% stake and is the operator of the pipeline, while the other stakeholders in the project are NextEra Capital (31%), Con Edison Transmission (12.5%), AltaGas (10%) and RGC Midstream (1%).

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the pipeline in October 2017 and the construction works on the £4.35bn ($5.4bn) pipeline project were started in February 2018.

The construction of the pipeline, however, was halted in the last quarter of 2019 due to legal and regulatory challenges. The pipeline project was more than 90% complete as of July 2020.

Expected to enter service in early 2021, the Mountain Valley pipeline will enable the supply of natural gas from producers in Marcellus and Utica shale plays to customers in the mid-Atlantic and southeast regions of the US.

The Mountain Valley pipeline route and design

The 488km-long, 42in-diameter interstate underground pipeline originates at the Equitrans transmission system near Mobley in Wetzel County, West Virginia, and terminates at Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company’s (Transco) Zone 5 compressor station 165 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

The pipeline passes through a total of 17 counties in West Virginia and Virginia.

The interstate natural gas pipeline consists of three compressor stations, four interconnects, three taps, and the related equipment.

Project status

The construction of three compressor stations, three interconnects as well as the welding of approximately 425km of the pipeline was complete as of July 2020.

The developer is currently facing legal and regulatory challenges for the construction of certain sections of the pipeline.

The FERC issued an order halting the construction of the pipeline in October 2019 following a stay of the pipeline project’s Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement by the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement was issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in November 2017.

The current focus of the pipeline developer is environmental stabilisation and restoration works, as well as the maintenance along the pipeline’s right-of-way to prevent erosion and sedimentation.

The developer is awaiting permits to build the pipeline in certain sections including a 5.8km section across the Jefferson National Forest in West Virginia and Virginia, as well as a 16km section across the water bodies.

Compressor stations on the Mountain Valley pipeline

The three compressor stations along the pipeline route are located in West Virginia. The operator will utilise a fraction of the natural gas flowing through the Mountain Valley Pipeline to run the turbines in the compressor stations.

The Bradshaw compressor station in Wetzel County, West Virginia is located 4.5km from the pipeline origination point. It consists of four gas-fired turbines with a combined capacity of approximately 89,600hp.

The Harris compressor station in Braxton County, West Virginia is located 125km from the point of origin of the pipeline. It consists of two gas-fired turbines capable of providing a total of 41,000hp compression capacity.

The Stallworth compressor station in Fayette County, West Virginia is located approximately 248km from the pipeline origination point. It consists of two gas-fired turbines with a combined capacity of 41,000hp.

Mountain Valley pipeline Interconnects

The Mobley Interconnect, located at the Mountain Valley pipeline (MVP) point of origin in Wetzel County, will facilitate the receipt of natural gas from Equitrans transmission system.

The Sherwood Interconnect in Harrison County, West Virginia, located approximately 38km from the MVP origination point, will allow receiving natural gas from MarkWest’s upstream system at the discharge side of the Sherwood gas processing plant.

The WB Interconnect in Braxton County, West Virginia, is located 125km from the MVP origination point. It will interconnect the MVP with the Columbia Gas Transmission’s pipeline.

The Transco Interconnect located at the terminus of the MVP in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, will facilitate the gas delivery to the Transco pipeline system.

Gas supply

The pipeline has secured firm capacity commitments of 2Bcf a day under 20-year contracts. The shippers on the pipeline include EQT Energy, Roanoke Gas Company, Next Era Energy, Con Edison Gas Midstream, and AltaGas.

Consolidated Edison acquired a 12.5% interest in the Mountain Valley pipeline in January 2016. It also entered into a 20-year transportation agreement for 0.25bcf a day of firm capacity on the pipeline. AltaGas picked up a stake in the pipeline through the acquisition of WGL Holdings in July 2018.

MVP Southgate pipeline

As a separate project, the Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC is also planning to build a 121km-long MVP Southgate pipeline from the terminus of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Pittsylvania County, Virginia to the delivery points in Rockingham and Alamance Counties in North Carolina.

The estimated investment in the MVP Southgate project is up to £402m ($500m) and the pipeline has 0.3bcf/d of firm capacity commitment from Dominion Energy North Carolina.