EQT announces pipeline to carry Marcellus gas to the Southeast

Pittsburgh-based EQT and a Florida company NextEra Energy launched a non-binding open season for drillers that want to reserve capacity on the Mountain Valley Pipeline project, which will connect Marcellus and Utica natural gas to markets in the southeastern U.S.

EQT and Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra also said on Thursday that they signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture to build and own the Mountain Valley Pipeline. EQT is expected to operate the pipeline and own a majority interest in the joint venture.

The 330-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline project will extend the Equitrans transmission system from Wetzel County, W.Va., and travel south to its expected primary delivery point, Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co.’s (Transco) Zone 5 compressor station 165 in Pittsylvania County, Va., according to EQT.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is subject to approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is expected to provide two billion cubic feet per day (2 Bcf/d) of firm transmission capacity.

Including EQT, the open season has commitments from two foundation shippers that, combined, have agreed to 1 Bcf/d of firm transmission capacity through 20-year contracts on the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Delivery to Transco station 165 is expected to be in service by the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the companies.

“By leveraging our existing asset footprint and extensive pipeline network, this project will provide Marcellus and Utica producers a unique opportunity to transport their growing natural gas production to the southeast, one of the nation’s fastest growing demand markets,” Randy Crawford, senior vice president, EQT Corp., and chief operating officer, EQT Midstream Partners, said in a statement.

“This is an exciting opportunity to invest in a high-quality natural gas pipeline that we expect to be fully contracted for the next 20 years,” TJ Tuscai, president, NextEra US Gas Assets, said in a statement.

“This project is expected to support production growth and physical takeaway capability in the Marcellus and Utica, and provide new markets to producers and shippers in the region. In addition, customers in the southeast United States should benefit from a new reliable supply source.” 

The open season was filed by Equitrans LP, a subsidiary of EQT Midstream, but the ultimate EQT affiliate to own and/or operate the pipeline will be determined at a later date, according to EQT.

EQT is the general partner of and also owns a 32 percent limited partner interest in EQT Midstream Partners.

NextEra Energy has 42,500 megawatts of generating capacity, and about 13,900 employees in 26 states and Canada as of year-end 2013. NextEra’s subsidiaries include Florida Power & Light Co. and NextEra Energy Resources, which is the largest generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun.

Stephanie Ritenbaugh: sritenbaugh@post-gazette.com or 412-263-4910

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