(Bloomberg) -- A major U.S. natural gas pipeline project has been delayed again as developer Equitrans Midstream Corp. pursues new permits for the troubled conduit.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline is now estimated to start up in the second half of 2023 and will cost $6.6 billion, the company said Tuesday in a statement. That’s up from a previous forecast of $6.2 billion. Until late last year, Equitrans expected the pipeline to start operating by this summer. It was originally expected to be in service in 2018, and the cost estimate has roughly doubled since the project was announced in 2014.
Equitrans is trying to get new permits for the project after a U.S. appeals court earlier this year tossed the federal government’s approval for Mountain Valley to go through Jefferson National Forest in the Virginias.
Mountain Valley, which is more than 90% complete, aims to connect drillers in the gas-rich Marcellus and Utica shale basins with major East Coast markets. Other projects in the region were scrapped amid fierce opposition from environmental groups, including proposals from Dominion Energy Inc., Duke Energy Corp. and Williams Cos.
Equitrans, which owns 48% of the 303-mile (488-kilometer) conduit, has funded about $2.6 billion of the project and expects to spend $3.4 billion.
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