Equitrans Midstream Corp has accepted the terms of a consent agreement from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) regarding the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project, which Equitrans operates.
The agreement resolves the Notice of Proposed Safety Order (NOPSO) that PHMSA issued to Equitrans on August 11 regarding the MVP project, Equitrans said in a statement Tuesday. The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a proposed underground, interstate natural gas pipeline system that spans approximately 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia.
According to the PHMSA news release about the NOPSO, the proposed safety order “requires comprehensive assessments to identify and remediate any coating deficiencies, potential corrosion issues, and any potential land movement-related effects on previously installed pipe”. The NOPSO aims to ensure the pipe has effective coating, and that any potential corrosion or land movement-related issues are identified and addressed to protect communities adjacent to MVP, and the environment, according to the release.
PHMSA said it has spent 229 days in the field conducting inspections on the MVP, ensuring that the pipe is constructed and installed in accordance with safety standards, including proper coating. The agency has focused its work on corrosion control and coating remediation for pipe that has been exposed to the elements and ultraviolet radiation in recent years.
The consent agreement aims to enhance MVP’s existing coating, remediation, and inspection processes. It includes authorizing KTA-Tator, Inc. (KTA), a well-established engineering firm with expertise in the evaluation of protective coatings for numerous applications, to serve as an independent, third-party party pipeline coating expert. KTA will continue conducting a comprehensive field audit of MVP’s pipeline coating activities, including the deployment of multiple inspectors to observe ongoing coating assessment and remediation and the performance of adhesion testing at each spread, Equitrans said.
Equitrans also agreed to accelerate MVP’s previously planned series of inline inspections to verify the integrity of the pipeline, as well as fast-track the regulatory timeline for conducting comprehensive cathodic protection surveys.
Equitrans and Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC agree with PHMSA that “transparently outlining the steps being taken by the MVP project team to responsibly complete construction is of critical importance and will reinforce public confidence in the safe operation of the pipeline”, according to the statement. The terms of the consent agreement are not expected to have a material impact on the total project cost or schedule, the company noted.
“The terms of this consent agreement are directly aligned with Equitrans’ core values, which include continually striving to go above and beyond regulatory compliance requirements”, Equitrans President and CEO Diana Charletta said. “Importantly, the agreement outlines actions that are designed to reassure the public of MVP’s integrity and demonstrates our commitment to safe, responsible construction and in-service operations. Safety has been, and will remain, MVP’s top priority, and we are committed to meeting or exceeding all applicable regulations to ensure the safety of our communities, employees, contractors, and assets”.
Mountain Valley will “continue to work closely with PHMSA and other regulators to maintain its high standards of safety and environmental stewardship as the project enters its final construction phase”, Equitrans said.
The MVP was designed to transport clean-burning natural gas from the prolific Marcellus and Utica shale regions to the growing demand markets in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast areas of the USA. The project will be constructed and owned by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, Series A, which is a joint venture of Equitrans, NextEra Capital Holdings, Inc., Con Edison Transmission, Inc., WGL Midstream MVP LLC, and RGC Midstream, LLC. As the primary interest owner, Equitrans will operate the pipeline.
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