Executive Intelligence Review


First Project in West Virginia-China Energy $84 Billion Deal May Be Announced Soon

April 19, 2018 (EIRNS)—Some 200 people participated at a conference in Morgantown, West Virginia April 16-17, which featured a panel on “China Energy Investment Update,” addressed by the state’s Commerce Secretary H. Wood “Woody” Thrasher, and Brian J. Anderson, the Director of the Energy Institute at the University of West Virginia, which has had years of work with China on fossil fuel advanced technology. The event was the seventh such yearly gathering, titled “Marcellus and Manufacturing Development Conference,” sponsored by the manufacturing and gas associations in the state. The participants met to promote chemical manufacturing activity in the tri-state shale gas region of West Virginia, southeastern Ohio, and western Pennsylvania.

Thrasher, in the course of his presentation and Q&A, addressed the matter very much in the forefront of attention: Where does the $83.7 billion deal stand between West Virginia and the Chinese mega-firm, China Energy, that was signed last November in Beijing, at the time of Donald Trump’s “state visit-plus” with Xi Jinping.

Thrasher said, “I’m very hopeful in the very near future that we’ll be able to announce the first project.” He said that delegations from China Energy have made 15 visits to the area. A 16th visit will take place very soon.

Thrasher gave specifics of how to create an environment in the region that is favorable to chemical manufacturing. He supports establishing certain zones across the state, where such facilities can flourish. For example, they can make use of West Virginia’s many brownfield sites.

The strategic importance of China-U.S. collaboration was raised in the first question after Thrasher’s remarks, by 21st Century Science & Technology reporter Rick Sanders. He pointed out that there is a tug-of-war going on in Washington, with some people trying to start a war with Russia and a trade war with China, and this is opposed to what President Trump wants. He seeks good relations with both Russia and China.

Thrasher responded, “I’m not in charge of war and peace, but I agree with you that the issue is very delicate.”

Brian Anderson, a chemical engineer, presented the merits of developing the gas industry in the West Virginia area today. “The three-state region has the potential to build what we call the Tech Belt, not the Rust Belt.” A petrochemical industry was built in this region a century ago, and now must be recreated. Today, he said, “What we feel is we have all the required ingredients and we just have to put it in the oven.” He said that,

“here we are in the 21st century, with a truly unique opportunity, to not grab what the U.S. Gulf Coast has, and bring it up here, but to create the second petrochemical hub here for the United States.”