Thrasher hopes to "capture a victory" in China this week

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher says he’s in China this week to “capture a victory” for West Virginia.

The state signed a Memorandum of Understanding with China Energy on Nov. 9 for $83.7 billion in shale gas development and chemical manufacturing projects over the next few decades.

Thrasher recently told MetroNews “Talkline” Host Hoppy Kercheval the first project has been identified and will be part of this week’s discussions.

“Shenhua combined with another company, so we want to develop that relationship with the new board and then what we want to do is identify that first project and drive it forward as quickly as we can. We want success in our pocketbook,” Thrasher said.

China Energy is the product of a recent merger between Shenhua Group, a state-owned coal company, and Guodian Group, an energy producer.

Thrasher said it’s important to have success as quickly as possible. Two separate Chinese delegations have visited the Mountain State in recent months and a list of projects has been identified.

Thrasher hasn’t identified that first project but he said the U.S. Commerce Department is thrilled with the progress made on the MOU.

“We want to capture a victory. We want to get out there and get something done, apply a great sense of urgency to everybody,” Thrasher said.

State Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Austin Caperton is with Thrasher in China, Thrasher said.

“Because the very next component is going to be permitting. We’re going to sit down and talk to leadership and say, ‘Hey, we’re ready to get this one done,” Thrasher said.

This article was authored by Jeff Jenkins for WV MetroNews. Click here to read it on the website.