More than two years into the arduous task of building a natural gas pipeline through West Virginia and Virginia, Mountain Valley Pipeline has won approval for an extension into North Carolina.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized the company to build what it calls MVP Southgate, which would start at the 303-mile pipeline’s terminus in Pittsylvania County and run south for another 75 miles.
In finding a “public convenience and necessity” for Southgate, FERC relied largely on a contract between Mountain Valley and Dominion Energy, which will receive about 80% of the pipeline’s gas for distribution to homes and businesses.
It is “well established” that such agreements are sufficient evidence of demand, FERC said in a 131-page decision.
“Given the substantial financial commitment required under these agreements by project shippers, we confirm that precedent agreements are the best evidence that the service to be provided by the project is needed in the markets to be served,” the document stated.
FERC ruled that work on Southgate cannot begin until Mountain Valley secures all of the permits it needs for its mainline system.
Mountain Valley has said it hopes to begin work on the $468 million Southgate project this year.