EQM Admits the Mountain Valley Pipeline is Delayed by Challenges

by admin on August 9, 2019

Many serious concerns exist for the MVP pipeline

EQM admits MVP won’t be flowing this year

From a News Article of Kallanish Energy, May 1, 2019

EQM Midstream Partners admitted Tuesday the Mountain Valley Pipeline joint-venture “is working through several alternatives to address the project’s remaining legal and regulatory challenges.”

“Although completing the project during 2019 is unlikely, the MVP JV continues to target a full in-service date for the fourth quarter 2019 at an overall project cost of $4.6 billion, of which EQM would fund approximately $2.2 billion.”

When EQM began construction in February 2018, it estimated the 303-mile, 2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) line would cost roughly $3.5B and be completed by the end of 2018.

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

But some analysts don’t expect Mountain Valley to receive a new Nationwide Permit 12 until Q4 2019, which likely would delay the project’s completion until mid-2020.

Mountain Valley is owned by units of EQM, NextEra Energy, Con Edison, AltaGas, and RGC Resources.

Equitrans Midstream (ETRN), spun-off from EQT Corp. last November, Tuesday also reported its first standalone earnings, with first-quarter operating and financial results coming in ahead of guidance, the Pittsburgh-based company said.

“We had a solid start to the year as we moved quickly to simplify our structure, executed a strategic bolt-on acquisition, and delivered first-quarter results ahead of guidance,” said Thomas F. Karam, CEO of Equitrans Midstream and EQM Midstream.

Firm reservation fees

The midstreamer reported 90% of transmission operating revenue came from firm reservation fees, the same source for 49% of gathering operating revenue.

ETRN announced net income of $56.3 million for first-quarter 2019, with an additional $134 million coming from its ownership in EQM. Also during the quarter, ETRN directly incurred $5 million of expenses related to separation and other transaction costs.

For the quarter, the EQM net income was $251.9 million, adjusted EBITDA was $331.8 million, net cash provided by operating activities was $161.0 million, and distributable cash flow was $266.8 million.

During the first three months of 2019, the EQM operating revenue increased by $19 million, or 5%, compared to the same quarter last year. The increase was related primarily to higher contracted firm transmission and gathering capacities and was partly offset by lower water services revenue.

Separation costs have impact

Operating expenses increased by $17 million compared to the first quarter 2018, with $4 million of the increase related to separation and other transaction costs and the remaining increase related primarily to higher system throughput and additional assets placed in service, consistent with the growth in the business.

EQM’s first quarter 2018 results were recast to include the pre-acquisition results of Rice Midstream Partners, the Olympus gathering system and 75% of the Strike Force gathering system (drop-down operations).

Last November, Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate filed its certificate application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. On March 22, the FERC issued a Notice of Schedule for the project, which includes the expected delivery of the Final Environmental Impact Statement in December.

The roughly 70-mile pipeline is expected to receive gas from Mountain Valley in Virginia and transport to new delivery points in North Carolina’s Rockingham and Alamance counties.

Expansion capabilities

With a total project cost estimate of $450 – $500 million, Mvp Southgate is backed by a 300 million cubic feet per day (Mmcf/d) capacity commitment from PSNC Energy and as designed, the pipeline has expansion capabilities up to 900 Mmcf/d of total capacity.

Subject to FERC approval, MVP Southgate has a targeted in-service date during the fourth quarter of 2020. Eqm has a 47.2% ownership interest in the Mvp Southgate project and will operate the pipeline.

The Hammerhead Pipeline is a gathering header pipeline that will span roughly 64 miles from southwestern Pennsylvania to Mobley, West Virginia, where both the Mvp and the Ohio Valley Connector originate.

Hammerhead has firm EQT commitment

With a total project cost estimate of $555 million, the Hammerhead Pipeline is expected to provide 1.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of capacity, of which 1.2 Bcf/d is contracted under a firm capacity commitment by EQT.

In the first quarter of 2019, EQM invested roughly $55 million in Hammerhead and expects to invest approximately $300 million in the project for the remainder of 2019. Hammerhead is targeting an in-service during the fourth quarter of 2019.

Equitrans Midstream features natural gas gathering systems, transmission and storage systems and water services assets that support Appalachian Basin natural gas producers. Etrn owns the non-economic general partner interest and a majority ownership of the limited partner interest in Eqm.

EQM Midstream Partners is a limited partnership formed to own, operate, acquire and develop midstream assets in the Appalachian Basin.

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Pipeline Opponents Urge Regulators to Expand Stop Work Order

From a News Report by Joe Dashiell, WDBJ News 7, Roanoke, VA, August 06, 2019

ROANOKE, Va. Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline say a recent stop work order in Montgomery County should be extended to the entire project.

Last week, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality halted work on a two-mile section, because it lacked appropriate erosion and sediment controls.

During a news conference Tuesday in Roanoke, a coalition of groups said they have documented similar problems in many different locations.

Russell Chisholm is Co-Chair of the POWHR Coalition. “We’re expected to take their word for what’s happening out there along the route, that things are going to be okay, when that’s simply not true,” Chisholm told WDBJ7. “And until we know that they can do that, they should shut the whole thing down.”

The POWHR Coalition is also asking landowners and other interested people to join the Mountain Valley Watch program to help document problems with erosion and sediment control.

On Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Mountain Valley Pipeline released the following statement:

“On Friday, August 2, 2019, forward-construction work was stopped along an approximate two-mile section of the MVP route in Montgomery County, Virginia, due to concerns and an incident regarding erosion and sediment control measures. The MVP project team reported issues related to sedimentation control to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) and inspectors conducted an investigation, which led to the stop of forward-construction progress, at the order of the VADEQ, in order to focus efforts on environmental controls.”

“We value the safety of our employees, contractors, and every person that lives in these communities; and one of our primary goals remains the preservation and protection of the environment. These commitments are made by MVP; therefore, it is MVP’s responsibility to the public to hold its contractors to the highest standards and to be accountable for their actions and decisions at all times. MVP demands a high level of performance from its contractors and we have planned for a high level of external oversight and monitoring during the construction process. As it relates to the erosion and sediment control incident that occurred along this section of MVP’s right-of-way, MVP changed the sequence of its work to address a potentially escalating environmental issue in another location on its right-of-way. While the resequencing was well-intended, there were misjudgments about the overall environmental risk in the area that contributed to the incident and for this there is no excuse.”

“The processes, as designed, are intended to implement and monitor environmental protection measures every step of the way. The permitting process provides the conditions under which the pipeline must be built in order to protect the environment. The construction process includes very stringent monitoring by FERC officials, state and local agencies, and MVP personnel to continually evaluate each of the permitted requirements. In this case, the work failed to meet our expectations, and more importantly, the expectations of our regulatory agencies and our other stakeholders. As we proceed through the construction phase, we appreciate the assistance and oversight of the inspectors from the VADEQ, and we will continue working closely with them to ensure the MVP construction crews are conducting their work to the highest standard possible.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon Sokolow August 9, 2019 at 9:49 am

Definition of Insanity: Mountain Valley Pipeline Asks for “Emergency Authorization” to Prevent a Life Threatening Landslide

From an Analysis by Jon Sokolow, Blue Virginia, August 9, 2019

The latest outrage from Mountain Valley Pipeline is almost beyond belief.

In July, this bloated corporate criminal – MVP is under criminal investigation by the U. S. Attorney’s Office in Roanoke – sent out a crew to survey a portion of the pipeline route in West Virginia. Among other things, they were looking for endangered species.

The MVP surveyors were unable to do their work, however, because the pipeline route was too dangerous for them.

Dangerous, as in it was in imminent danger of a landslide.

In a July filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, MVP admitted:

“MVP attempted to conduct stream and wetland delineations, cultural resource, and rare, threatened, and endangered species surveys. Due to the instability of the slip, surveys were limited.”

MVP asked for permission to do “emergency slip remediation.”

MVP’s “emergency” request was dated July 11, but it was not actually filed with FERC until July 29. That gives a sense of how seriously MVP takes the term “emergency.”

It is not clear what remediation work MVP did after its July 29 filing. What is clear is that whatever work was done did not work.

Yesterday, ten days after filing its “emergency” request with FERC, MVP dropped a new bombshell. An MVP attorney wrote FERC to provide “additional information” on MVP’s “slide repair” request:

“Due to the unstable nature of this slide, Mountain Valley is requesting emergency authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to cut trees necessary to repair the slide.”

In this filing, MVP disclosed that the “slip” problem on this particular site actually had been going on for more than three months:

“This slide was identified on April 22, 2019 and was stabilized. Following a significant rain event on July 7, 2019, additional slide movement was observed on July 11, 2019.”

Three months after the initial landslide danger was noted, however, the problem has not been resolved. In fact, it has gotten worse.

Much worse. In a chilling passage in yesterday’s letter, MVP made this stunning revelation:

“The progression of the slide caused additional area outside the limits of disturbance to destabilize, uprooted numerous large trees, has the potential to impact an aquatic resource, and has progressed to the point where a residence directly downslope is unsafe to be occupied. Mountain Valley Pipeline must stabilize the slide before it causes damage or injury to the landowners and resources located down-slope of the slide.”

That bears repeating. MVP has made a residence “unsafe to be occupied.” And something must be done to alleviate the danger of a landslide “before it causes damage or injury.”

Last week, we wrote that MVP’s main contractor, Precision Pipeline, has a history of killing its own workers. One year ago, we wrote here and here, that Precision Pipeline has a terrifying record of causing landslides on its pipeline projects. In fact, none other than Dominion Energy sued Precision Pipeline for having caused 50 landslides in a 55-mile pipeline project Precision built for Dominion.

Now it is beyond debate that MVP is endangering lives on this project. MVP just admitted it.

How many more such slides exist along the 303-mile route of this pipeline?

It seems that no one in a position of power has been listening.

Until recently, that is, when Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor said he was “appalled” to find erosion and sediment control problems with MVP. He was so appalled that he issued a stop work order for the MVP – along a two mile stretch of the route.

And now MVP is admitting that lives are in danger. Not hypothetical danger, but the type of danger that requires “emergency” action.

As Tammy Belinsky, a Floyd County attorney involved in the fight to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline, noted in reaction to MVP’s latest admission:

“They cut the trees off a slope that should have been known to have unstable soils. Then MVP cut more trees down in a failed attempt to stabilize a slide. Now MVP wants to cut more trees hoping for a different result. Definition of insanity, no?”

MVP clearly is in a rush to complete this $5 billion corpore boondoggle, which already is years behind schedule. With the Fourth Circuit repeatedly rejecting permits for the MVP and for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and with investors seemingly nervous about the overall health of the companies behind MVP, it is clear that MVP is willing to do whatever it takes, no matter the risk, to get this project done before someone shuts it down.

Which raises the question, are any state officials in Virginia (or West Virginia) paying attention? What will it take to get the Department of Environmental Quality to shut MVP down? What will it take for Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who already has accused MVP of having committed more than 300 violations of Virginia water laws and regulations, to advise his client, DEQ, to issue a stop work order along the entire route?

How many landslides is too many? How many workers or landowners will have to be hurt? How many residences will have to be made “unsafe to be occupied.”

This is not complicated. It’s an emergency. Just ask MVP.

https://bluevirginia.us/2019/08/definition-of-insanity-mountain-valley-pipeline-asks-for-emergency-authorization-to-prevent-a-life-threatening-landslide?fbclid=IwAR1ecIQdo8NQ_eAFMgV–3d9gXai7fEJYWb2IEQl7i9mmyywos3drWElEtY

Reply

Lara Mack August 15, 2019 at 12:26 pm

Hello all,

I think most of you are aware that the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the MVP Southgate extension project dropped on Friday, July 26. We have a 45 day comment period for the Southgate DEIS – deadline Monday, September 16. I’ll be sure to share around DEIS commenting resources and petitions as soon as they are available. Link to Southgate DEIS here:

https://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20190726-3011

There will be three comment periods. Two in North Carolina and one in Virginia. I’m asking for ACP and MVP mainline resistors to show up to a listening session if you can! The DEIS listening session in Chatham VA (Pittsylvania County) is probably closest for most of the folks on this list.

There will be a carpool from Blacksburg area to the Southgate DEIS Listening Session in Chatham, VA on Tuesday, August 20. Contact Penina Harte – penina.harte@appvoices.org – if you’d like join the carpool.

August 19, 2019, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m
Rockingham Community College
215 Wrenn Memorial Road
Wentworth, NC 27375
(336) 342-4261

August 20, 2019, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m
Olde Dominion Ag Complex
19783 U.S. Hwy. 29 South
Chatham, VA 24531
(434) 432-8026

August 22, 2019, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Vailtree Event Center
1567 Bakatsias Lane
Haw River, NC 27258
(336) 578-4020

Thanks as always for your support!

Lara Celeste Mack, Virginia Field Coordinator
Appalachian Voices, 812 E. High Street,
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Call or text me directly at (434) 218-3277
or dial our office (434) 293-6373 ext. 623

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