CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Tuesday touted two recent development announcements as evidence West Virginia's energy economy is growing beyond just extracting natural resources from the ground.
Tomblin addressed energy industry leaders during the seventh annual state Energy Summit at the Charleston Town Center Marriott Tuesday.
During his lunchtime address, the governor said the recent investment announcements by Odebrecht, which evaluated construction of an ethylene cracker plant in Wood County, and Carbonyx International USA, which plans to build a synthetic coke plant in Jackson County, are key to building an economy that uses West Virginia resources in-state rather than shipping them elsewhere.
Tomblin said the economic effect of the Odebrecht plant alone could reshape the state's economy.
A recent American Chemistry Council report estimated building just a cracker plant, which would take natural gas and convert it into other usable chemical products, would amount to a $3.2 billion investment in the state.
The study estimated the cracker facility could lead to development of other plants using its product, resulting in up to $7 billion in additional chemical industry activity each year and up to 12,000 new jobs.
"It's thousands and thousands of new jobs for our kids -- kids who are sitting in classrooms right now wondering what their future is going to be like," Tomblin said. "It's billions of dollars of economic impact that will affect every aspect of our economy, from locally owned grocery stores to plastics manufacturers."