Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Equitrans Expansion Project?
The largest element of the Project includes the replacement of the existing 4,800 horsepower Pratt Compressor Station with an expanded, state-of-the-art 31,300 horsepower facility, to be named Redhook Compressor Station, located in Greene County, Pennsylvania. The proposed compressor station in will compress produced natural gas volumes into the existing Equitrans transmission system for delivery to existing interconnects with Texas Eastern Transmission LP and Dominion Transmission, Inc. The next portion of the Project includes approximately 3.0 miles of 30″ diameter pipeline between the Redhook Compressor Station and the existing H-302 pipeline in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Additionally, the Project includes approximately 4.2 miles of 20″ diameter pipeline between the Applegate Gathering System and Equitrans’ existing H-148 pipeline in Allegheny and Washington Counties, Pennsylvania. Finally, the Project includes the Webster Interconnect and Mobley Tap to deliver natural gas volumes into Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC’s proposed pipeline in Wetzel County, West Virginia.
Who is Equitrans?
Equitrans, LP (Equitrans) is a wholly owned subsidiary of EQM Midstream Partners, LP, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Equitrans has significant experience in designing, building, and operating natural gas pipelines in the Appalachian region; including extensive natural gas gathering, storage, and transmission operations that service western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, and Ohio. Equitrans operates 950 miles of transmission lines, more than 1,500 miles of gathering lines, and 18 natural gas storage reservoirs with approximately 78 Bcf of storage capacity (43 Bcf of working storage capacity).
EQM Midstream Partners, LP (EQM) is a growth-oriented limited partnership formed to own, operate, acquire, and develop midstream assets in the Appalachian Basin. As the third largest gatherer of natural gas in the United States, EQM provides midstream services to producers, utilities, and other customers through its strategically located natural gas transmission, storage, and gathering systems, and water services to support energy development and production in the Marcellus and Utica regions. EQM owns approximately 950 miles of FERC-regulated interstate pipelines and approximately 2,130 miles of high- and low-pressure gathering lines.
Why is this expansion necessary?
EEP is specifically designed to address infrastructure constraints associated with the rapid development of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation in central Appalachia. Equitrans’ existing natural gas pipeline system is uniquely positioned in central Appalachia, as its pipelines overlay the Marcellus Shale formation in Northern West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. EEP is designed to help meet the demand for natural gas in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast by providing transportation capacity for these new supplies that will ultimately be delivered to homes, businesses, industries and power plants throughout those regions.
What are the steps for determining a pipeline route?
The route selection process is conducted in a deliberate and thoughtful manner, utilizing experience and expertise of industry professionals. The pipeline route is designed to minimize the project’s impact on the environment, landowners, and communities. As Equitrans refines the route during the planning and permitting process, it will consider a number of factors including landowner concerns, environmental issues, cultural resources, and constructability. Wherever possible, Equitrans will parallel existing utility easements. Equitrans will work closely with interested parties, including our neighbors and local, state, and federal agencies in selecting the preferred route.
What is involved in the pipeline construction process?
Once all appropriate approvals and permits have been received, pipeline construction will occur in phases. Equitrans will begin by clearing and grading the land. Then crews will string, weld, and install the pipe. Typically, the pipe is laid into a trench and then covered with a minimum of three feet of soil. The disturbed area will then be returned to original contours as practical, limed, seeded, fertilized, and mulched. Before operations begin, welds are x-rayed; the pipe is carefully inspected and hydrostatically tested as required by U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. The entire construction and installation process will be monitored by inspectors and will proceed as quickly and with as little impact as possible to the environment, landowners, and the community.
Who oversees EEP?
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the federal government agency that regulates both the construction of interstate natural gas pipelines and the transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce. Other federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), and the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will review relevant parts of EEP. In addition, a number of local and state agencies are participating in planning and permitting the project.
What is an easement?
An easement provides an operator with a limited use of property for defined, specific purposes. The acquisition of an easement does not transfer ownership of the land to Equitrans; it does, however, give Equitrans the right of access for construction and maintenance and the safe operation of EEP.
What is the role of the Landman?
A Landman is a professional who represents Equitrans, and is the primary contact with the landowners along a proposed pipeline route. The Landman’s role is to make certain a landowner receives useful information about the Equitrans Expansion Project. If you are a landowner that may be involved with the Project, the Landman will be your primary contact.
What rights do Landowners have with respect to having a pipeline located on their property?
Landowners are entitled to receive fair compensation for having a pipeline on their property. The goal of Equitrans is to obtain from the Landowner the necessary land rights for the Project. During negotiations, Equitrans will work with the Landowner to address specific concerns they may have about their property.
Will Landowners be allowed to use the land where the pipeline easement is located after the pipeline is constructed?
Generally, Landowners will be able to utilize their land in the same manner — prior to the easement and pipeline being located on their property. For example, agricultural activities such as growing crops and pasturing livestock can resume once the land is ready; however, in order to maintain safe operation of the pipeline, certain restrictions may apply. The effect of any restrictions would be addressed as part of the pipeline easement agreement granted to Equitrans.
How wide will the easement be?
The permanent easement typically is 50-75 feet wide, with up to an additional 50 feet of temporary workspace required during construction. Where the project will parallel existing Equitrans facilities, approximately 20-15 feet of additional easement may be required. At the end of construction, Equitrans will restore the land to as close to its original condition as possible.
What is involved in the easement negotiation process?
Both a permanent easement and a temporary construction easement will be needed for this project. The permanent easement is the room to maintain and operate the pipeline, while the temporary easement is used for working space during construction. A Landman, or representative of Equitrans, will contact you to discuss the agreements that cover the easements, payments for crops or timber that will be disturbed during the construction, and any access that will be needed for pipe and equipment.
What measures will be taken to protect the environment during and after construction?
The construction and operation of the pipeline is governed by strict state and federal environmental regulations. Routing near existing pipeline utility right-of-ways reduces the need to clear previously undisturbed land. Where clearing does occur, Equitrans will work to minimize any impact to sensitive environmental areas. After the expansion is in operation, Equitrans will continue to adhere to the requirements of all applicable environmental permits.
What activity will be seen after the Equitrans Expansion Project is placed in service?
Future activities along the route will consist of aerial inspections and walking the right-of-way, looking for any natural or manmade conditions that could impact the pipe or affect its safe operation. When pipeline maintenance work is needed, Equitrans will contact landowners in advance so that they are aware of the activity.
What steps are taken to ensure the safety of the pipeline?
Equitrans is committed to safely operating and maintaining the expansion. Along with our regular visual inspections, Equitrans will monitor the pipeline continuously using state-of-the-art equipment in our control center. Equitrans marks the pipeline at road crossings, fence lines and other areas and the right-of-way is maintained so that it is clearly identifiable. Neighbors who live along the right-of-way also are encouraged to contact Equitrans if they have any questions or see or hear anything that concerns them. The pipeline will be regularly patrolled in accordance with Department of Transportation regulations, and will have its overall integrity assessed in accordance with industry practices and specific applicable regulatory requirements.
What is the safety record of pipelines?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, pipelines are the safest mode of energy transportation in the USA. Equitrans is committed to constructing and operating safe pipeline systems.
How do I contact the FERC if I have problems or issues about the right-of-way or the Equitrans Expansion Project?
While the FERC encourages you to work with Equitrans to resolve any potential issues, if you need to contact the FERC, you may contact the FERC’s Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) Helpline. To reach the DRS Helpline, call toll free 1-877-337-2237 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or online: www.ferc.gov/legal/adr.asp