On April 22, the DRWV Foundation partnered with the West Virginia Department of Commerce to highlight economic opportunities in the state's Marcellus and Utica shale gas industry to members of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) in New York City. Due to the high cost of energy in Japan, there is a great deal of interest in the U.S. Marcellus shale gas industry. The Foundation's honorary chair, Senator Joe Manchin, and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin served as the seminar's hosts. Kyle Mork, president of Energy Corporation of America and Jim Crews, vice president of
Northeast Business Development with MarkWest Energy Partners, provided the seminar's keynote presentations. Mr. Mork provided attendees with an overview of the exploration and production stages of shale gas development in West Virginia, and Mr. Crews highlighted the Appalachian Basin's abundant resources and low cost structure for processing, storing and transporting shale gas.
"This economic conference highlights the strength of West Virginia's 30 year partnership with Japan that has helped create jobs for hardworking West Virginians and helped to diversify our economy," Senator Manchin said. "The importance of natural gas and the Marcellus shale to West Virginia is growing and our state has a real opportunity to remain a leader in the global energy conversation. I'm confident that if we work together in a collaborative way we can continue to be an energy leader in the years ahead."
More than fifty senior-level executives and members of JCCI attended the seminar including executives from some of the largest Japanese companies in the world, including Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Itochu, Mitsui, IHI, Kobe Steel, and Toyota, to name a few. Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, the Consul General of Japan in New York, also attended the seminar and provided remarks. JCCI has been a long-time friend of the State of West Virginia and the Foundation. This seminar was a prime opportunity for the state to go to NYC and tout West Virginia as a great place to do business.
While in New York, the Foundation also hosted a "Friends of West Virginia" reception to showcase the state's economic opportunities and network with executives and officials in the NYC area, outside of the membership of JCCI. Approximately eighty executives and officials, from a variety of industries including chemical, financial, and IT, as well as numerous economic or trade organizations including JETRO, and the U.S. Qatar Business Council, attended the reception. Senator Manchin and Ralph Baxter, president of Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, and a board member of DRWV, were the event's keynote speakers. Mr. Baxter relayed the very positive story of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in West Virginia, and his former company's decision to locate in Wheeling.