Fed Biological Review for Mountain Valley Pipe Delayed…Again

Last December the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking for an extra 60 days to revise an Endangered Species Act (ESA) review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. In February they asked for another 45-day extension (see MVP Update: USFWS Needs More Time; Antis Pester DEQ). The new deadline is here and once again FWS is back, asking FERC for more time. This time they want another 32 days–until April 27.
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Marcellus/Utica Companies Switch to “Work from Home” Model

A number of Marcellus/Utica drillers and pipeline companies are taking action to slow and potentially stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Several companies (so far) have instituted mandatory work-from-home orders. Those companies include the Pittsburgh-based companies CNX Resources, Equitrans, and EQT Corp. By the time this is published more may have joined the list.
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Equitrans Merging in EQM Midstream, Lowers Fees for EQT $535M

Both EQT (the driller) and Equitrans (the midstream company) issued their quarterly/full-year 2019 updates yesterday. Equitrans, formerly EQT Midstream, separated from EQT in November 2018. Equitrans, via its EQM Midstream affiliate, gathers, processes, and flows most of EQT’s natural gas production, getting it to market. Last fall EQT began intense negotiations with Equitrans to lower its midstream costs (see EQT Hammers Equitrans to Lower Gathering Price – Deal Close?). The culmination of that effort was announced yesterday. In a complicated deal, EQT got Equitrans/EQM to lower gathering costs $535 million over three years, and chip in $52 million, in return for EQT giving up half of its ownership of EQM, signing a long-term contract, and signing a new $60 million water pipeline deal.
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Marcellus/Utica Drillers’ Stock Prices Near/At Historic Lows

The value of a company’s stock price is important, for a variety of reasons. The stock price reflects investor confidence in whether the company can earn its keep and grow profits in the future. A higher stock price wards off takeovers. Upper management gets a raise. And the company can borrow money when it needs to at reasonable interest rates. All sorts of reasons why the stock price is important. Unfortunately for top drillers in the Marcellus/Utica, their stock prices have tanked. As a group, and individually, the stock price is either near or even at the lowest it’s *ever been.* Let that sink in.
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FERC Issues Favorable Final EIS for MVP Southgate Pipe to NC

MVP Southgate map (click for larger version)

Although the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project from West Virginia to southern Virginia is facing intense opposition by Big Green in completing the project (currently on hold because of court challenges), the project is now 90% built and in the ground. It should be done later this year. And then what? And then it’s on to building a 75-mile extension from southern Virginia into North Carolina, called MVP Southgate (see Mountain Valley Pipeline Launches Plan to Expand 70 Miles into NC). On Friday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a favorable final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for MVP Southgate. The only step left, which is now a foregone conclusion, is for FERC to issue a certificate allowing MVP Southgate to begin construction.
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MVP Update: USFWS Needs More Time; Antis Pester DEQ

Last Friday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking for an extra 45 days to revise an Endangered Species Act (ESA) review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. Also from last week: anti-fossil fuelers (Big Green groups) virulently opposed to MVP (which is 90% built) continued to hound the project by pestering the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) over minor violations the DEQ found in construction activities from September to December. Big Green wants to know what the DEQ is going to “do” about the violations.
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Virginia Landowners Sue to Emasculate FERC in Bid to Block MVP

In a lawsuit filed last week, three couples who own land along the route of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in Virginia, who don’t want the pipeline crossing their land, are trying to overturn federal approval of MVP by emasculating the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. This is not the first time someone has tried to emasculate FERC using MVP.
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Mountain Valley Pipeline Settles Lawsuit, Pays Virginia $2.15M

In October MDN told you Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) had been bullied by the Attorney General in Virginia into agreeing to pay a $2.15 million fine and subject itself to stricter monitoring–an ongoing anal exam–as they complete construction of the pipeline in the state (see Fed Court Suspends Mountain Valley Pipe Permits; $2.15M Fine). MVP construction is currently on hold and is due to restart in 2020. Although the AG and MVP both agreed to the outrageous fine and oversight plan in October, it’s not official until a judge signs off–which happened on Wednesday.
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Equitrans Cancels Trinity Energy Contract re Mountain Valley Pipe

Last week Equitrans subsidiary EQM Midstream Partners (formerly EQT Midstream) canceled a contract with Texas-based Trinity Energy to build portions of the now-stalled Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. You may recall that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) stopped all new construction on MVP in October, until a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit that passes muster with the courts can be issued (see FERC Shuts Down All Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction). We’re not sure what Trinity was doing in the meantime with a shutdown of construction in place, but Trinity reps expressed surprise that their MVP contract has now been canceled.
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FERC Pushes Back Deadline to Review MVP Southgate to Feb 2020

Latest proposed route for MVP Southgate (click for larger version)

Last November Equitrans (nee EQT Midstream), filed plans with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend the 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project *another* 70 miles south, into North Carolina, called the MVP Southgate project (see EQT Makes it Official, Files with FERC to Extend MVP into NC). The Southgate project has been under review at FERC since that time. The original schedule called for FERC to issue a final environmental impact statement (EIS) on Dec. 19. That date has just been pushed back.
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Mountain Valley Pipeline Unloads on Radicalized Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is a radicalized, far left “environmental” group that seems to have endless mountains of cash to finance frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit against any project or company with the moniker “fossil fuel” attached to it. The Clubbers have made trouble for both Dominion Energy’s Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, and now for Equitrans’ Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) by convincing lefty judges in a federal court to overturn previously issued permits from the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Equitrans has had enough of the Clubbers and their interference and recently unloaded on the group in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
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EQT Hammers Equitrans to Lower Gathering Price – Deal Close?

The Pittsburgh Business Times is reporting that EQT and Equitrans (formerly EQT Midstream) are “inching closer” to a renegotiated agreement for Equitrans to continue EQT’s natural gas gathering and shipping. During conference calls with analysts last week, both EQT CEO Toby Rice and Equitrans President Diana Charletta were said to be “optimistic” about the eventual outcome of those negotiations. Our interpretation is that EQT is hammering Equitrans to lower the cost of gathering and transporting their gas.
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Con Edison Capping Investment in Mountain Valley Pipe at $530M

Consolidated Edison, the huge gas and electric utility that services much of New York City and its suburbs, recently said the company will cap its investment in the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project. There is an amount beyond which they will not go. Con Ed is one of five investor/owners of MVP. The primary owner and builder of MVP is Equitrans (EQM Midstream Partners), the former EQT Midstream.
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PA DEP Fines Equitrans $650K for SWPA Gas Storage Field Violation

Equitrans (nee EQT Midstream) owns a natural gas storage field in Greene County, PA, in the southwest corner of the state, called Swarts Field. Natural gas storage fields are an important, but often overlooked, part of the natgas ecosystem. Last December the state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) threatened to shut down Swarts Field because of coal mining in the area, saying Equitrans had not properly mapped old/abandonded conventional gas wells in the area (see PA DEP Threatens to Close Equitrans Gas Storage Field in SWPA). The good news is the DEP threat is now over. The bad news is that Equitrans has to pay a $650,000 fine.
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Mountain Valley Pipe Price Goes Up, In-Service Delayed Again

The last time Equitrans talked about the status of its 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline project (from Wetzel County, WV to Pittsylvania County, VA) was July, when the company said the cost for the project had ballooned to $5 billion and the in-service date delayed until mid-2020 (see Equitrans Wants to Remain Kissin’ Cousins with EQT; MVP 85% Done). Then the clown judges of the federal Fourth Circuit Court pulled a permit for the project, and FERC told the company to stop all construction (see FERC Shuts Down All Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction). Yesterday Equitrans issued a new update. The price has gone up…again, and the in-service date is delayed…again.
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FERC Shuts Down All Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction

As MDN previously reported, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit bought the lies of colluding Big Green groups and decided to put a hold on a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that allows the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) to build through areas with so-called endangered and threatened species (see Fed Court Suspends Mountain Valley Pipe Permits; $2.15M Fine). Because of the suspended FWS permit, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Tuesday told Equitrans, the builder of MVP, to stop ALL work along ALL of the project until further notice.
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