In December, LyondellBasell announced plans to close its Houston refinery by year-end 2023, but the company has decided to extend the business exit to no later than the end of the first quarter 2025.
Positive inspections and consistent performance have given the company confidence to continue safe and reliable operations at the Houston, TX, site. LyondellBasell anticipates moderate maintenance spend to support this extension in 2023 and 2024 but remains committed to ceasing operation of its oil refining business. The extension will minimize workforce impacts as the company continues to develop future options for the site and will enable a smoother transition between the shutdown and the implementation of the retrofitting and circular projects.
One of the three pillars of the company's new strategy is to build a profitable Circular and Low Carbon Solutions business. In support of this strategy, LyondellBasell is developing future plans for the Houston refining site.
"Our plans to transform the site for future growth beginning in 2025 are aligned with our purpose of creating solutions for everyday sustainable living," said Peter Vanacker, LyondellBasell CEO. "It is exciting to have a suite of future projects in the early stages of development."
Multiple options are being evaluated including recycled and renewable-based feedstocks and green and blue hydrogen. The growth projects under development would connect to existing assets in the Houston area and use existing infrastructure on the refining site including hydrotreaters, pipelines, tanks, utilities, buildings, and laboratories.
The Houston refining site is one of the largest refineries in the United States designed to process heavy-sulfur crude oil.
In the future, LyondellBasell expects the 700-acre refining site will be part of a Houston regional hub for its Circular and Low Carbon Solutions business and support the growth of the LyondellBasell Circulen product portfolio.
Circulen reduces plastic waste through the use of recycled content, and a lower carbon footprint through the use of renewable-based content as compared to feedstock from fossil-based sources. The sustainable packaging materials, made of circular polymers, are organized into three primary categories; CirculenRecover, CirculenRevive, and CirculenRenew.