FRANKFORT — A company in India plans to buy $7 billion worth of coal from Kentucky and West Virginia producers, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Wednesday.
Beshear, at a Capitol news conference, called the private partnership "a great example of a new market for Kentucky resources." He noted that he made an economic development trip to India two years ago and will be making another trip soon.
The deal is for 25 years and involves India's Abhijeet Group and New Jersey-based FJS Energy LLC buying coal from Kentucky and West Virginia through Kentucky-based affiliates FJSE Marshall Inc. and FJSE River Coal.
Under the agreement, Kentucky coal companies will export about 9 million tons of coal each year to the Abhijeet Group, which has been buying coal from Indonesia and Australia.
Jim Booth of the Inez-based Booth Energy said his energy team is looking forward to working with India.
"We are very pleased that we have forged a partnership that meets their demand abroad and creates and sustains Kentucky jobs," he said.
Booth is a major contributor to political campaigns in Kentucky, including those of Beshear, and a member of the commission Beshear has appointed to study state tax reform.
Booth credited state Rep. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, for arranging the deal. The FJS Energy company's Web site lists Hall as a board director.
M.P. Narayanan, FJS Energy's board chairman and former chairman of Coal India, said the deal will strengthen trade and business relationships between India and the United States.
Anand Kumar, executive director of Abhijeet Group, called the deal "an example of the strong potential between American producers and Indian customers."