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Morgantown contractor blames antero for delays

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Morgantown-based Performance Pipeline LLC claims Antero Resources Corp. is to blame for delays in completing a roughly 5-mile-long section of gas and water lines it was commissioned to build in Doddridge County.

Antero, headquartered in Colorado, had sued Performance Pipeline for breach of contract in November, alleging the local contractor lacked the equipment and personnel to do the job properly and claiming it had been forced to hire another company to complete the work and make repairs.

Performance Pipeline, however, alleges in its response it was Antero's changing demands and directives that caused it to fall behind. The Morgantown company, which had filed mechanics liens in September against Antero properties in Doddridge, Ritchie and Tyler counties, has countered by asking a federal judge in Elkins to order Antero to pay it the more than $1.5 million it says it is owed, plus interest.

Antero terminated its contract with Performance in August, about six months after issuing the Morgantown company notice to proceed with construction of a 27,500-foot section of gas and water lines for its Mountain Pipeline project.

Performance Pipeline insists Antero never provided it with a project order form detailing the work to be performed, had made numerous changes and additions without regard to the Master Construction Services Agreement they'd signed and failed to pay for work done.

The Morgantown company alleged numerous other problems, including access roads Antero had said would be available to it but weren't, changes in rights of way from those depicted in original drawings and instructions to do additional work "for which a pricing plan was not agreed nor was a Project Order Form offered by Antero." The counterclaim suggests Antero "continually changed and delayed the timeline of the project … by directing Performance to perform work not included in the agreed timeline."

"Despite directing numerous changes to the work being performed by Performance, Antero refused to and never provided Performance with any written or specific additions of work, change orders or Project Order Forms to follow; instead, the project moved based upon Antero's finger-pointing or chalkboard notes," the Morgantown company claimed in its response.

Performance said Antero should have known "its drastic changes to the progression and direction of Performance's work" would impact both the project's timeline and its bottom line.

Performance Pipeline suggested Antero's "refusal to agree to pricing terms on the Mountain Project jeopardized not only Performance's ability to complete the project, but also the livelihood of Performance Pipeline, which had advanced more material costs and required more labor than projected because the work demanded by Antero continually changed... ."