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Columbia Gas gets approval to place Mountaineer XPress facilities in service

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission granted authorization to Columbia Gas Transmission LLC to start service on a list of facilities on the company's 2.7-Bcf/d Mountaineer XPress natural gas pipeline expansion in West Virginia.

The Mountaineer XPress project and Columbia Gulf Transmission LLC's Gulf XPress project are expected to provide incremental gas transportation capacity between the U.S. Northeast and the Gulf Coast.

FERC granted the authorization in a Jan. 16 letter, based on construction status reports and staff inspections that showed restoration and other work are going well. The commission told Columbia Gas that it must comply with all remaining conditions of the certificate order for the project. (FERC docket CP16-357)

The authorization covered a number of facilities in West Virginia, including about 113 miles of pipeline called the MXP-100 pipeline, another 6 miles of line called the MXP-200 pipeline, and modifications to three compressor stations.

FERC said it would continue to monitor the project to make sure Columbia Gas follows through with winterization and restoration plans and completes "restoration of the 155 slips identified in Columbia Gas' most recent slip report filing." The company was hit with $122,350 in fines in November 2018 by West Virginia regulators for erosion, water and slope stability violations during construction of the project.

In late December 2017, FERC approved the project, designed to connect receipt points in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania to a Columbia Gulf interconnect in Kentucky and to Columbia Gas' TCO Pool hub. FERC gave Columbia Gas the full go-ahead on construction in September 2018. Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf are part of Columbia Pipeline Group Inc., a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp.