Home Energy and Environment Mountain Valley Pipeline Claims Project 92% Complete, Expects “Full In-Service” by “Early...

Mountain Valley Pipeline Claims Project 92% Complete, Expects “Full In-Service” by “Early 2021.” Don’t Hold Your Breath.

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Yesterday, the Mountain Valley Pipeline folks put out a press release claiming that “[t]otal project work [on the project] is approximately 92% complete and full in-service is now expected in early 2021.” The press release adds:

For the last several months, Mountain Valley’s primary focus has been continued environmental stabilization and restoration work, and maintenance of existing erosion and sediment controls along the right-of-way. Forward construction is anticipated to resume when MVP receives its Biological Opinion and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission lifts the project’s Stop Work Order.

MVP’s 2021 in-service date reflects changes to the previously planned construction schedule, which includes the continued timing uncertainty of permits for crossing the Jefferson National Forest and Appalachian Trail, roughly 3.7 miles; and waterbodies, which total approximately 10 miles of pipe.

In connection with the adjusted in-service date, total project costs for MVP may potentially increase roughly 5% above the project’s $5.4 billion estimate, primarily due to the need to adapt to complex judicial decisions and regulatory changes – creating carrying costs and requiring supplemental crews to safely maintain the entire 303-mile route during the halt of construction and through the upcoming winter months.

MVP’s current construction statistics: the three compressor stations are 100% complete; the three original certificated interconnects are 100% complete and a fourth has been approved for construction in 2020; approximately 80% of the pipeline work is complete, which includes 264 miles of pipe welded and in-place; and approximately 50% of the right-of-way has been fully restored.

The question is, should we believe this new timetable by Mountain Valley Pipeline? Given the many delays to date, it seems that skepticism is in order. Also, see this article from mid-May, which reported that:

  • “Analysts at Height Capital Markets in Washington said they were ‘skeptical’ the Ninth Circuit will stay the Montana Judge’s order and noted the court may not decide the case until 2021.”
  • “That would push the in-service date for Mountain Valley to at least mid 2021 and could also prevent Dominion’s Atlantic Coast from entering service in early 2022 as planned, Height Capital Markets said.”

So, we’ll see, but remember that this is the same company that said in September 2018 that it “Continues to Target a Full In-Service for Late 2019.” And we see how well *that* worked out, lol.  More seriously, though, the concept of building *new* fossil fuel infrastructure, when basically every climate scientists in the world is urgently warning that we have to move as rapidly as possible OFF of fossil fuels and to a clean energy economy, if we are to avert climate disaster, is just completely nuts. It’s also stupid from a purely economic point of view, as these new fossil fuel assets are highly likely to end up as “stranded” in a decade or whatever, leaving ratepayers holding the bag…