One of the major developments out of President Trump’s visit to Asia: A deal with China to invest $250 billion in the U.S. The largest portion of investment comes from the world’s biggest power company, which plans to invest in West Virginia’s natural gas industry.
State officials say they have an agreement with China Energy Investment Corp. Ltd. for the company to invest $83.7 billion in shale gas development and chemical manufacturing in West Virginia over 20 years.
State Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher and China Energy President Ling Wen signed the memorandum in Beijing as part of the US-China trade mission during President Trump’s visit.
Commerce officials say project planning will focus on power generation, chemical manufacturing and underground storage of natural gas liquids and derivatives.
West Virginia has large underground shale gas reserves.
"This is a great day for the state of West Virginia," said West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice in a press release. "I've been saying for the last couple months that the tides are turning in West Virginia and this is proof. Today is another sign as we joined with my good friend President Trump to announce the largest investment in our state's history."
Energy experts are calling the agreement an economic game-changer for West Virginia given the downturn in the coal industry.
“By collaborating with global companies like China Energy to invest in our state through joint research, business development and demonstration opportunities, we begin to move West Virginia forward by expanding and diversifying our state into newfound prosperity and success,” Brian Anderson, director of WVU’s Energy Institute said in a release from the university.
“Thanks to this strategic partnership, West Virginia is on the global stage. Now is the time to seize these business development opportunities that will help expand West Virginia’s energy market and provide cleaner, cheaper energy across the United State and beyond.”
Since 2002, West Virginia University has been jointly researching coal liquefaction with mining company Shenhua Group, which merged with Guodian Group to form China Energy. The company is now considered the largest power company in the world with 200,000 employees.