HOUSTON (ICIS)--China Energy Investment Corp plans to invest $83.7bn in shale gas development and chemical manufacturing projects in the US state of West Virginia, the West Virginia Department of Commerce said on Thursday.
The Chinese company, which was recently formed through the merger between China's state-owned coal mining company Shenhua Group and energy producer Guodian Group, and West Virginia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the investment during President Donald Trump’s trade mission to China.
The company had made several trips to West Virginia, with Thursday’s MOU marking the first step in a series of commitments China Energy plans to make in the state, the department said.
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 (NGL) and derivatives, the department said.
China Energy selected West Virginia because of the state's position as a key energy-producing state and home to one of the world's largest shale gas reserves, the department said.
"Expanding Appalachia's energy infrastructure, including developing a regional storage hub and market for natural gas liquids, will have a transformative effect on our economy, our security, and our future”, said Shelley Moore Capito, a US senator (Republican) for West Virginia.
The senator led efforts in Washington to secure this investment, advocating for it directly with President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and secretaries Rick Perry and Wilbur Ross, she said.
In related news, Shell this week announced that it is going ahead with a petrochemical investment in neighbouring Pennsylvania.