Eastman Chemical Co. said it plans to operate and invest in two new plants that will use petroleum coke instead of natural gas to produce industrial chemicals used in consumer products, according to the Associated Press. The Kingsport-based manufacturer of chemicals, fibers and plastics will be a developer, operator, investor and customer of a new $1.6 billion plant slated for Texas. The company also plans to participate in Faustina Hydrogen Products LLC''s project in Louisiana as operator, investor and customer. Based on $100 million in incentives that have been preliminarily approved by local officials in Beaumont, Texas, Eastman intends to locate its gasification project there. That plant, which is expected to be online in 2011, will produce chemicals such as methanol, hydrogen and ammonia. Faustina plans to build a plant which will use petroleum coke, a byproduct from refineries, and high-sulfur coal as feedstocks to make anhydrous ammonia for agriculture, methanol, sulfur and industrial-grade carbon dioxide. Eastman has provided development funding for the project, with the intent to take a 25 percent stake. Eastman will also provide operations and maintenance services and purchase methanol under a long-term contract. The facility will be built in St. James Parish and is expected to be on line in 2010. Eastman expects construction to be under way by early 2009. Up to 1,500 workers are expected to work on construction, and permanent employment is expected to be about 250.