22 January 2007 00:00 [Source: ICB]
EASTMAN CHEMICAL plans to spend more than $2bn (€1.5bn) to capitalise on gasification and other technologies in the next five years.
CEO Brian Ferguson revealed that he is evaluating investment opportunities in northeast Asia, where there are large coal reserves.
Ferguson said: "About 20% of our volume is from coal gasification in Kingsport, Tennessee, US, and I aim to raise that to about 50-70% in the next four or five years."
Eastman is currently pursuing two coal gasification projects in the US (ICIS Chemical Business 27 November 2006) where, according to the company, there is ample supply for the next 250-300 years.
Meanwhile, Eastman has started basic engineering work on its proposed worldscale IntegRex polyethylene terephthalate (PET) facility.
Gregory Nelson, Eastman's executive vice president, said: "We are actively looking at multiple sites in and outside the US."
The company's first IntegRex plant in Columbia, South Carolina, is currently being commissioned and should be fully operational this quarter.
"We have made class one material and we are making the 50% savings on conversion and capital costs that we claimed," stated Nelson.
Eastman is now rationalising 350,000 tonnes/year of PET capacity at South Carolina and Nelson said this should be completed by early 2008.
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