WVU Energy Institute Director Dr. Brian Anderson, Governor Jim Justice and State Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher (Photo Credit: West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
China Energy will invest close to $84 billion in West Virginia's natural gas and petrochemical industries over the next two decades. The deal was forged during President Trump's visit to Beijing the week of Nov. 6 and accounts for about one-third of the country's total proposed investment plans in the United States, West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported.
While West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher addressed the deal in a new conference Nov. 13, they did not provide many specific details.
Here's what has been confirmed so far:According to Thrasher, some of the deal's starting projects will include two natural gas-fired power plants, probably in Harrison and Brooke counties.Construction for the power plants could start as early as six to eight months from now.Thrasher and Shenhua Group officials, part of the China Energy company, will not reveal details about any other projects, or the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was forged between the company and the state.The MOU is not legally binding.China Energy's investors were looking at other U.S. locations, including Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.According to Thrasher, West Virginia has not offered China Energy anything for its investment, and the company, in turn, has not asked the state to provide it with tax breaks, to make policy changes or for any other incentives. According to WVU Energy Institute director Dr. Brian Anderson, additional projects would “run the entire spectrum of natural gas and petrochemical products and facilities,” West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported. Anderson also said there was interest on the construction of an underground storage area for natural gas liquids to help connect pipelines and production facilities.
"There's a whole wide series of projects,” Thrasher said. “Can I guarantee you that they're going to spend 83 billion dollars in 20 years? No. But what I can guarantee you is: the governor has directed me to do everything within my power to facilitate these projects going forward,” West Virginia Public Broadcasting reported.