KINGSPORT, TN — Eastman Chemical Co. announced an agreement with Sinopec Qilu Petrochemical Corp. of China to build “world-scale” derivative plants for the production of Texanol ester alcohol and TXIB plasticizer in Zibo, China. Texanol ester alcohol is a commonly used coalescing aid for architectural paints, and TXIB plasticizer is a polymer modifier.

In other announcements, Eastman said it is planning a major expansion in manufacturing capacity for 2-ethylhexanoic (2-EH) acid, and also announced that its Lawter International subsidiary and a Chinese chemical company have launched a joint-venture business to produce and market chemical intermediates and derivatives.

The agreement with Sinopec Qilu represents a “key step” in Eastman’s efforts to meet growing demand in China and export markets, said Jeff Nodland, vice president and general manager of Eastman’s Coatings, Inks, Textiles, and Composites Business. Eastman said the joint venture will expand its global capacity for Texanol and TXIB plasticizer by approximately 20%. Eastman currently manufactures the products at Longview, TX, and Juron Island, Singapore.

The company said construction of the plant would begin as quickly as possible, following completion of a joint feasibility study, negotiation of a joint-venture contract and the securing of government approvals. No specific timetable was announced.

Eastman said a debottlenecking project at the company’s manufacturing facility in Kingsport, TN, will increase the company’s 2-EH acid capacity from 40 million pounds to 80 million pounds annually. The additional capacity, slated to begin production late this year, is the result of growth in end-use market demand, the company said. Eastman boosted 2-EH capacity by 8 million pounds in 1999. Metallic salts of 2-EH acid are used as driers in paint, ink, varnishes and enamels.

The joint-venture business involving Lawter International and Funing County Organic Chemical Factory of China will produce and market chemical intermediates and derivatives. The business will supply oleic acid, stearic acid, dimer acid, and polyamide resins from a production site in China’s Jiangsu Province.

The venture will produce nonreactive polyamide resins used primarily in printing inks and hot-melt adhesives. Oleic acid, stearic acid and dimer acid are used in specialty and industrial chemical applications. Lawter is a manufacturer of resins, varnishes and additives for the graphic arts industry.