By CASEY JUNKINS
WHEELING, W.Va. — Officials with Dominion Resources continue working to complete the $5 billion, 42-inch diameter, Atlantic Coast Pipeline that will ship natural gas southward from West Virginia to North Carolina, in addition to the $3.8 billion Cove Point natural gas exporting site in Maryland.
To Tim Greene, owner of Land and Mineral Management of Appalachia and a former West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection inspector, getting both these projects up and running is vital to boosting prices for Marcellus and Utica Shale material.
“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline, the Rover Pipeline, the Mountain Valley Pipeline. We’ve got to get these up and running,” Greene said of the large interstate pipelines that are all in various stages of development. “The business is in the pipelines now.”
According to Dominion Chairman, President and CEO Thomas Farrell II, the firm is getting closer to filing for an official Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, adding he hopes the company can do this in September.
Mountain Valley Pipeline, an EQT Corp. project, would run 330 miles southward from the MarkWest Energy Mobley complex in Wetzel County to the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Co. Zone 5 compressor station 165 in Virginia. The Rover Pipeline, meanwhile, will carry natural gas from northern West Virginia across Ohio and into Michigan.
Still, all three of these projects are probably more than one year away from opening. Greene said producers likely will just have to make due in the meantime.
Dominion operates the Blue Racer Natrium complex in Marshall County, as well as other natural gas processing infrastructure in both Ohio and West Virginia, which will now be part of the network used to send material to Cove Point for export so the gas can be shipped throughout the world, particularly to Asia.
“Our Cove Point liquefaction project is also progressing on time and on budget. The project overall is about 31 percent complete and engineering at 90 percent is nearly complete,” Farrell said.
Earlier this year, U.S. Department of Energy officials said they extensively and carefully reviewed Dominion’s project before signing off on it. Despite protests, the energy officials said exporting 770 million cubic feet per day from Cove Point for a period of 20 years is “not inconsistent with the public interest.”
“Once we get Cove Point, we can get new markets. It you don’t have markets, there’s no need for gas,” Greene said.
“The Cove Point facility has been on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay as an LNG import terminal for nearly 40 years,” Dominion Energy President Diane Leopold said. “While we are making a substantial investment to add export capabilities, we intend to keep unchanged our commitment to being a good neighbor and responsible steward of the environment.”
Dominion also increased its earnings for the period of April 1 through June 30. The Richmond, Va. firm’s profit jumped to $429 million, which is up from $361 million during the same time frame last year.