Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC is seeking to address concerns surrounding its environmental impact through a recently announced plan to purchase carbon offsets for its operational emissions.

Under the plan, Mountain Valley would purchase carbon offsets to make the pipeline’s operational emissions carbon neutral for the first 10 years of service. This, according to a company release on July 12, would make Mountain Valley one of the first interstate natural gas transmission pipelines to acquire carbon offsets for its operational emissions.

“We understand the sensitivities that surround the blending of large-scale infrastructure projects with environmental protection,” commented Diana Charletta, president and COO of Equitrans Midstream, which serves as operator of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

One of several U.S. pipelines that has faced several delays due to regulatory and legal fights with environmental and local groups, Mountain Valley Pipeline is a proposed underground, interstate natural gas pipeline system that spans approximately 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. The pipeline was designed to transport natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions to markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast areas of the U.S. 

Startup of Mountain Valley Pipeline is currently set for the summer of 2022. The pipeline, which started construction in February 2018, had originally been expected to enter service by late 2018.

The latest delay, revealed by Equitrans Midstream in May, was due to requests by environmental regulators in Virginia and West Virginia to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for an extension to the review period to evaluate the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s water quality certification applications.

Once in-service, however, Mountain Valley expects to purchase more than $150 million of carbon offsets during its initial 10 years of operations. Through an agreement with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, these carbon offsets will be sourced through a methane abatement project in Virginia projected to reach full production in 2023.

“Once completed, the methane abatement project is expected to be the largest of its kind in the world,” commented Matt Schafer, vice president of interstate pipelines, for NextEra Energy Resources, which also owns a stake in the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Mountain Valley added in the release that it continues to expand its environmental stewardship and conservation efforts in Virginia and West Virginia and is actively exploring additional strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting sensitive resources.

In addition to Equitrans and NextEra Energy, the Mountain Valley Pipeline is owned by units of Consolidated Edison Inc., AltaGas Ltd. and RGC Resources.