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Commodities

RGC sees Mountain Valley gas pipeline completion by end 2021: CEO

(Reuters) - Virginia natural gas company RGC Resources Inc’s chief executive said on Friday that the joint venture building the $5.8 billion-$6.0 billion Mountain Valley gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia expects to complete the project by the end of 2021.

That matches what other companies involved in the project have said since they decided in January to give up on a nationwide permit that covers all stream crossings and instead seek individual permits to cross the remaining roughly 430 streams.

“MVP (Mountain Valley Pipeline) believes that pursuing the individual permit process ... is the most efficient regulatory path to completing the remaining components of the project,” RGC CEO Paul Nester told analysts on a call.

Many analyst have said MVP was right to give up on the nationwide permit, which they said was facing serious environmental court challenges, but noted the pipeline will likely not enter service until 2022 because it will take considerable time to receive the remaining stream crossing and other permits.

MVP is one of several oil and gas pipelines delayed in recent years by regulatory and legal fights with states and environmental groups that found problems with permits issued by the Trump administration.

When construction started in February 2018, MVP was expected to cost about $3.5 billion and be completed by the end of 2018.

In answer to questions about whether President Joe Biden’s administration could stop MVP in a way similar to what it did to TC Energy’s Keystone XL oil pipeline, Nester said, “We don’t believe that the current administration has the legal standing to stop the project.”

Nestor noted the 303-mile (488-kilometer) project was “roughly 92% complete” with “more than 264 miles of pipe welded and in place.”

MVP is owned by units of Equitrans Midstream, NextEra Energy, Consolidated Edison, AltaGas and RGC.

Reporting by Shariq Khan in Bengaluru and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Paul Simao and Steve Orlofsky

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