Mountain Valley Pipeline Announces Plan to Offset Carbon Impacts

Mountain Valley Pipeline announced plans that would make it one of the first interstate natural gas transmission pipelines to acquire carbon offsets for its operational emissions.

Spanning about 303 miles across West Virginia and Virginia, Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) was designed to provide cost-effective access to natural gas for use by local distribution companies, industrial users, and power generation facilities in the growing demand markets of the mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. With total project work largely complete, MVP is awaiting approval for the remaining construction permits and anticipates utilizing up to 4,000 workers, of which nearly 90% would be represented by union labor, to complete construction and finalize restoration of the right-of-way.

“We understand the sensitivities that surround the blending of large-scale infrastructure projects with environmental protection,” said Diana Charletta, president and chief operating officer of Equitrans Midstream Corporation, operator of MVP. “Equitrans Midstream is committed to aggressively pursuing climate change mitigation and adaptation while also balancing the immediate and increasing need for energy in our country. Today’s announcement represents our team’s latest effort to reduce industry methane emissions and achieve our corporate goal of Net Zero Carbon by 2050.”

Under the plan, Mountain Valley would purchase carbon offsets to make MVP’s operational emissions carbon neutral for the first 10 years of service. These emissions are often referred to as Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions and include carbon dioxide from engines used to drive compressor stations; methane released during operation; and maintenance of the pipeline, as well as carbon dioxide resulting from generation of purchased electricity. Verified by independent auditors, the offsets are measured in metric tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent and are an important tool for reducing emissions, while balancing the public need for natural gas as an affordable, reliable energy source.

The cornerstone of this plan includes a Virginia methane abatement project, by which Mountain Valley would purchase carbon offsets that are expected to be equivalent to 90% of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with MVP’s operations over a 10-year period. MVP is also pursuing additional greenhouse gas abatement projects in West Virginia, including a substantial effort to address abandoned and orphaned gas wells that are expected to achieve carbon offsets of an additional 10% or more.

Once MVP is placed in-service, 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, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, these carbon offsets will be sourced through a methane abatement project in Virginia that is expected to be the largest operating coal mine methane abatement project in the world when it reaches full production in 2023.

The methane abatement project, located at a mine in southwest Virginia near the West Virginia border, will be constructed in phases, with the first phase anticipated to come online in the summer of 2022 and phase two in the spring of 2023. Current mining operations at this facility vent allowable emissions of methane into the atmosphere. The methane abatement project will use an onsite regenerative thermal oxidizer, which will capture methane from the mine and convert it into carbon dioxide and water vapor to significantly reduce climate impact. Upon completion, the Virginia methane abatement project is expected to reduce statewide underground coal mining emissions by approximately 25%.

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