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Ahead of Mountain Valley Pipeline start, Equitrans seeks to put EEP project into service

Highlights

Cites 660 MMcf/d deliverability into connecting pipelines

Project was approved alongside MVP

Washington — Equitrans has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to start service on the Equitrans Expansion Project, saying the project has independent utility as it would increase deliverability to connecting pipelines by 660 MMcf/d, even if the Mountain Valley Pipeline facilities are not completed.

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The impact on Northeast markets could be muted, given that the producing area is generally unconstrained and capacity on Equitrans already goes underutilized, indicating a lack of pent-up demand for incremental delivery capacity off the system, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics.

Currently there is about 3.8 Bcf/d of firm capacity under contract on Equitrans, with more than half owned by the gas producer EQT Energy.

EEP was proposed alongside MVP to supply up to 600 MMcf/d of MVP's 303-mile, 2 Bcf/d of greenfield takeaway capacity and expand capacity at existing delivery interconnects with Texas Eastern Transmission, Dominion Energy Transmission, and Columbia Gas Transmission, primarily in West Virginia.

PROJECT DETAILS

The Equitrans system has seen rapid growth over the past several years due to its positioning on top of significant Marcellus Shale gas deposits in West Virginia. It delivers this gas into a wide array of longer-haul transmission systems that move gas outside of the region, positioning Equitrans as somewhat of a header system for the region.

EEP entails about 7.4 miles of various diameter pipelines, two interconnects and ancillary facilities in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. About 400,000 Dt/d of firm gas capacity is under contract with EQT Energy. Equitrans has described the project in prior FERC filings as designed to add up to 600,000 Dt/d of incremental north-south firm capacity to bring gas from the central Appalachian Basin to the interstate pipeline grid.

MVP SCHEDULE

Both the EEP and MVP projects received FERC certificate authorization in October 2017. MVP is under construction but its completion has been delayed in part by legal holdups including 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals actions striking water crossing authorizations and permissions to cross a short stretch of federal lands. EQM Midstream Partners has pushed back to mid-2020 its official in-service date for MVP.

FERC combined the environmental analysis of MVP and EEP on the grounds that they were interrelated and connected projects.

In a July 2 request at FERC, Equitrans provided a flow diagram that it said clearly shows the EEP request would increase deliverability to Texas Eastern, Dominion and Columbia by an aggregate of 660 MMcf/d.

The request would cover EEP project facilities except those directly associated with deliveries of gas to MVP, such as the Webster Interconnect, a tap and a short segment of pipeline.

Equitrans asked for approval by July 26 so that the service could begin on or before July 31.

-- Maya Weber, maya.weber@spglobal.com

-- Eric Brooks, ebrooks@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jasmin Melvin, newsdesk@spglobal.com