July 7, 2020 / 5:44 PM / a month ago

Equitrans' stock spikes after court ruling, rival project canceled

July 7 (Reuters) - Equitrans Midstream Corp's shares spiked 15% on Tuesday following a favorable court ruling that should help the company finish its U.S. Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline and the cancellation of a competing pipeline that could help it find new customers.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order late Monday in a case involving TC Energy Corp's Keystone XL oil pipe that stayed part of a nationwide injunction by a federal district judge in Montana on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nationwide Permit 12 program, which oil and gas pipelines need to cross waterbodies.

"We view this as positive news for projects awaiting Nationwide Permit 12 permits, such as Mountain Valley," analysts at ClearView Energy Partners LLC said, noting "We continue to believe the project could enter service in early 2021 as planned."

The 303-mile (488-kilometer) Mountain Valley from West Virginia to Virginia will cost roughly $5.7 billion and deliver 2 billion cubic feet per day of gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

When Equitrans started construction on Mountain Valley in February 2018, it estimated the project would cost about $3.5 billion and be completed by the end of 2018.

Separately, Dominion Energy Inc and Duke Energy Corp abandoned their $8 billion Atlantic Coast gas pipe from West Virginia to North Carolina due to legal uncertainties, including potential delays related to the Nationwide Permit 12 program.

Analysts said the Atlantic Coast cancellation could provide Mountain Valley and its proposed Southgate extension into North Carolina with some new customers that had been counting on the Dominion/Duke pipe to meet the region's growing energy demand and fuel new gas-fired power plants that are replacing retiring coal units.

Mountain Valley is owned by units of Equitrans, NextEra Energy Inc, Consolidated Edison Inc, AltaGas Ltd and RGC Resources IO.O>.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy

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