Appalachia Development Group LLC announced the proposed hub after the Energy Department invited the group this week to apply for a $1.9 billion loan guarantee to support its development. A loan guarantee is used to make companies more confident in taking out loans on risky or first-of-its kind projects; it assures borrowers that the federal government will pay back the loan in full if the company must default on it. The invitation is the first step in the department's plan to provide federal backing to construct the facility.
Large reserves of the area's abundant natural gas will be stored in the hub, hopefully tempting companies from around the world to build refining facilities nearby. The hub could bring economic expansion and jobs to an area that sorely needs it. "The American Chemistry Council says the hub would spur $36 billion in petrochemical investments and create more than 100,000 new long-term jobs," Siciliano reports.