[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the April 2021 issue of Midstream Business magazine.]
Will the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Appalachia be among the last of the large greenfield projects? Colette Breshears, senior research manager and head of North American infrastructure at Wood Mackenzie, thinks so.
“Mountain Valley Pipeline is having a very tough time of it,” Breshears said at the recent Midstream PA conference. “Tougher than [Energy Transfer LP’s] Rover had.”
Mountain Valley is not alone among projects grappling with myriad obstacles. Still, the struggles facing the natural gas pipeline project read like a list of amendments to Murphy’s Law: mounting costs, difficult terrain, landslides, steep hillsides, pathways through population centers, pathways across national landmarks like the Appalachian Trail, steel tariffs and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approvals.
Despite the project’s travails, Wood Mackenzie expects Mountain Valley to be completed. Such has not been the case for many major projects, like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline that was canceled last year. Which almost begs the question: Why would a pipeline company put up with the aggravation of pursuing major projects like this? Simple answer: The gas production outlook demands it.