November 4, 2020 Read More →

Developer Equitrans raises cost of contested Mountain Valley Pipeline to $5.8 billion

The Roanoke Times:

The Mountain Valley Pipeline has once again pushed its completion date back and the project cost up.

Equitrans Midstream Corp., the lead partner in a joint venture of five energy companies that has faced widespread environmental problems while building the natural gas pipeline, made the announcement Tuesday.

Rather than completing construction early next year as planned, the company is now targeting a full in-service date “during the second half of 2021,” a news release stated. The cost, which was estimated to be $3.7 billion when construction started in 2018, now stands at between $5.8 billion and $6 billion. The latest increase was attributed largely to the more costly task of continuing construction through the winter, which Mountain Valley plans to do in order to make up time lost to legal challenges.

Despite the latest setback, Equitrans chairman and CEO Thomas Karam remained bullish on the project during a conference call to discuss third quarter results with financial analysts. “Our confidence has not changed because of these expected challenges, at all,” he said.

Pipeline opponents, however, were encouraged by the latest news. They hope a sustained legal attack will eventually force Mountain Valley to cancel the project — as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline did in July — and help turn the tide to renewable energy.

Although the project is two years behind schedule, it has far more pipe in the ground than Atlantic Coast did when it decided to fold.

[Laurence Hammack]

More: Another delay, cost increase for the Mountain Valley Pipeline

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