EQM Midstream Partners, LP (EQM - Free Report) expects Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline work to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019, per Reuters. However, some legal obstacles are still looming on the future of the project. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit explained that it took the environmentalists’ side in October and annulled the project’s water permit, as the project violated some conditions.
The permit requires the project to cross streams within 72 hours, which its proposed building procedure failed to meet. Also, the court pointed out another special condition, which requires pipelines with more than 36 inches in diameter to secure state water quality certification. Notably, the Mountain Valley Pipeline is expected to have a diameter of 42 inches.
During September-end, the partnership bumped overall cost estimates of the project to $4.6 billion from prior expectation of $3.5 billion due to extended work stoppages in August, as well as prolonged and heavy rainfall. Preparations for hurricanes also hampered the project schedule, which eventually reflected in the cost.
The proposed underground 303-mile pipeline connects northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. The pipeline will collect natural gas from Marcellus and Utica shale plays, and deliver the same to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast areas of the country, where demand for clean-burning natural gas is on the rise.
The Pipeline is being constructed by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, which is owned by EQT Midstream and partnered by NextEra Energy, Inc.’s (NEE - Free Report) subsidiary NextEra US Gas Assets, Con Edison Transmission, WGL Midstream and RGC Midstream. EQT Midstream expects to build more than 50% of the pipeline by the end of 2018.
Pittsburgh, PA-based EQT Midstream has lost 10.1% in the past year compared with 26.5% collective decline of its industry.
Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider
Currently, EQT Midstream carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Investors interested in the energy sector can opt for some better-ranked stocks given below:
Houston, TX-based Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (EPD - Free Report) holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The company’s earnings for 2018 are expected to surge more than 36% year over year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Rome, Italy-based Eni S.p.A. (E - Free Report) has a Zacks Rank #1. Its earnings for 2018 are expected to grow more than 100% from the 2017 level.
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