$84 billion in natural gas projects coming to WV



Brooke County may be home to one of two natural-gas power plants in West Virginia as part of a new, $83.7 billion shale gas agreement between the state’s department of commerce and China Energy Investment Corporation Ltd., it was announced Thursday morning.

According to West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Woody Thrasher, the power plant deals alone are valued at more than $1.3 billion. He said construction will begin within the next 6 to 8 months. The other plant would be positioned in Harrison County, W.Va.

“What’s really exciting about this opportunity is our consultants forecasted a day like this back in 2010, and what we learned today is that President Trump, Secretary Thrasher, and Steve Spence at the development office, have actually delivered on an opportunity that we foresee as probably $40 billion or $50 billion just probably in our region alone," said Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corporation.

China Energy selected West Virginia for the project because of the state's position as a key energy-producer, and because it's home to one of the world's largest shale gas reserves. There is also a longstanding relationship between the two entities.

The China Energy announcement in West Virginia was the largest investment in a series of projects in U.S. corporations and other states, totaling a reported $250 billion of investment in the United States.

Planning for the projects is underway and will proceed in phases over the course of 20 years. The projects will focus on power generation, chemical manufacturing, and underground storage of natural gas liquids and derivatives. The plans demonstrate a total value chain approach, integrated from raw materials through the production of useful chemical intermediates locally.

Ford called it a big victory for the northern panhandle.

“The northern panhandle has been in the running, and we’ve been within the top three sites for the past two ethane crackers," he said. "We have the sites. We have a site a Mountaineer, we have a site in Beech Bottom, and we have a site in the city of Weirton. Those sites have been cued up for the past 7 years.

"And we’ve been looked past from PTT Global and Shell, and now we’re here talking about an opportunity for that third cracker to be built, and we could not be better positioned with the real-estate, the infrastructure, and now the announcement that has been made to make that happen right here.”

Ford said the announcement will result in key manufacturing investments for companies that could employ anywhere from 50 to as many as 400 people per plant, per investment, in our region.

China Energy is the recent creation of a merger between China's state-owned coal mining company Shenhua Group and energy producer Guodian Group. The merger positions China Energy as the world's largest power company with more than 200,000 employees.

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