Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Ohio Valley Connector Expansion (OVCX) project?
The proposed Project is designed to expand Equitrans’ Mainline System, and in particular expand the capacity and delivery capabilities of its previously installed Ohio Valley Connector assets.
The scope of facilities currently includes the following proposed pipeline, associated aboveground facilities, access roads, cathodic protection, staging areas, and contractor/laydown yards:
- removal of the existing 3606 compressor and addition of two Taurus 70 turbines at the existing Cygrymus Compressor Station with additional mechanical and electrical equipment to support the horsepower (HP) increase in Greene County, PA;
- addition of one Mars 100 compressor unit to support the sole existing Mars 100 compressor unit, at the extant Corona Compressor Station, with supplementary mechanical and electrical equipment to support the HP increase in Wetzel County, WV;
- addition of one Titan 130 to the two existing Taurus 70 compressor units at the existing Plasma Compressor Station with additional mechanical and electrical equipment to support the HP increase in Monroe County, OH;
- approximately 0.5 mile of 16-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline (H-327) in Greene County, PA;
- approximately 0.5 mile of 12-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline (H-328) in Greene County, PA;
- approximately 3.7 miles of 24-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline (H-326) in Wetzel County, WV;
- approximately 129 feet (0.02‑mile) of eight-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline (H-329) in Wetzel County, WV;
- approximately 0.7 mile of 16-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline (H-330) in Wetzel County, WV;
- approximately 0.09 mile of 16-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline (H-330 Spur) in Wetzel County, WV;
- approximately 160 feet (0.03 mile) of 12-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline (Logansport Spur) in Wetzel County, WV;
- one deep anode groundbed and rectifier for cathodic protection in Greene County, PA;
- additional ancillary facilities, such as a valve yard, taps, and internal inspection device (e.g., pig) launchers and receivers in Greene County, PA;
- additional ancillary facilities, such as mainline valves (MLVs), valve yards, measuring equipment, and internal inspection device (e.g., pig) launchers and receivers in Wetzel County, WV;
- new and existing temporary and permanent access roads, staging/parking areas, and contractor yards in Greene County, PA and Wetzel County, WV; and
- existing permanent access road in Monroe County, OH.
Who is Equitrans?
Equitrans, L.P. (Equitrans) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Equitrans Midstream Corporation, based in Canonsburg, 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 and northern West Virginia.
Equitrans’ transmission and storage system includes approximately 950 miles of FERC-regulated interstate pipelines that have interconnect points to seven interstate pipelines and multiple local distribution companies. At year-end 2020, our transmission and storage system was supported by 42 compressor units, with total throughput capacity of approximately 4.4 Bcf per day and compression of approximately 136,000 horsepower; and 18 associated natural gas storage reservoirs, which had a peak withdrawal capacity of approximately 900 MMcf per day and a working gas capacity of approximately 41 Bcf. In 2020, Equitrans’ transmission operations transmitted a daily average of 2,948 BBtu.
Why is this expansion necessary?
The proposed Project is designed to expand Equitrans’ Mainline System, and in particular expand the capacity and delivery capabilities of its previously installed Ohio Valley Connector assets. The proposed Project will increase Equitrans’ capability to deliver natural gas volumes to take-away transmission pipelines in the Clarington area (including deliveries to the Rockies Express and Rover pipeline systems) by approximately 350,000 dekatherms per day, which will ultimately serve the need for additional volumes of natural gas in expanding mid-continent and Gulf Coast markets. The proposed Project facilities are also designed to enhance the Mainline System’s hydraulics to create new receipt and delivery transportation paths and provide long-term receipt and delivery reliability (including for deliveries to the Texas Eastern, TC Energy, and Eastern Gas Transmission pipeline systems).
Equitrans designed the proposed Project to meet the needs of its current and future customers to serve markets in a timely, cost-effective, efficient, and environmentally-sensitive manner that minimizes incremental temporary and permanent impacts.
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 the OVCX Project?
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 the Project. 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 the OVCX Project.
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 OVCX 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 feet wide, with up to an additional 50 feet of temporary workspace required during construction. 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 the landowner 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 are compressor stations?
A compressor station is a natural gas facility located along a pipeline route that compresses gas in the line to increase pressure, allowing it to flow through the line toward its intended destination. Friction and elevation changes induce pressure drop on natural gas traveling in a pipeline and must be periodically compressed to ensure consistent pressure and efficient delivery.
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 rights-of-way 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 OVCX 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 will you communicate with local communities, landowners and other affected parties?
Community engagement is integral to the OVCX Project development process, from new project development through all phases of permitting, construction and ongoing operations. A toll-free number, 855-918-8880, is available, as well as a website www.ovcx.info, and email email@example.com, to give stakeholders multiple ways to interact with the project team. We’ve begun the process of meeting with stakeholders to ensure that we listen early in the process to any concerns and recommendations, and then incorporate feedback into our planning for this pipeline. We will continue to have these conversations as we proceed with this project. We will also host a community open house to introduce, discuss, and answer questions regarding the project. At the open house, we will provide information about the project, solicit input, and answer project-related questions.
How do I contact the FERC if I have problems or issues about the right-of-way or the OVCX 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