July 26 (Reuters) - EQT Corp said Thursday it delayed the targeted completion of its $3.5-$3.7 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from West Virginia to Virginia to the first quarter 2019 from late 2018.
Analysts have said the project was in danger of being delayed due in part to legal challenges by environmental and other groups to a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, among other things.
Mountain Valley is one of several big pipelines expected to enter service over the next year to connect growing output in the Marcellus and Utica shale basins in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio with customers in other parts of the United States and Canada.
The 303-mile (488-kilometer) pipeline is designed to deliver up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of gas to meet growing demand for the fuel for power generation and other uses in the U.S. Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.
One billion cubic feet is enough gas to supply about five million U.S. homes for a day.
Mountain Valley is owned by units of EQT, NextEra Energy Inc , Consolidated Edison Inc, AlatGas Ltd and RGC Resources Inc. EQT Midstream Partners LP will operate the pipeline and owns a significant interest in the venture.
In April, the companies said they planned to spend about $350 million to $500 million to extend the pipe about 70 miles from Virginia into North Carolina by the fourth quarter of 2020.
Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Marguerita Choy