LyondellBasell to run Houston refinery at 85% utilization in Q1

Lyondell Basell Industries said on Friday it plans to operate its Houston oil refinery, which is scheduled to close by the end of this year, at about 85% of its 263,776 bpd capacity during the first quarter.

During a Friday conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results, Kimberly Foley, executive vice president of refining, said the company is evaluating the most efficient scenario to permanently close the refinery at the end of this year.

"We're working through the detailed plans of how to do that," Foley said. "You can do that with a slow ramp down or are you going to do that by just pulling the plug on the 31st (of December)."

Lyondell announced last year the refinery will be permanently closed by the end of 2023. It chose to close the refinery, which is no longer essential to produce feedstocks for its plastic production plants, after failing to find a buyer.

The company said the refinery ran at 85% of capacity in the fourth quarter of 2022 due to a Dec. 23 plant-wide shutdown in frigid weather and other unplanned outages earlier in the quarter.

Foley said the 2-1-1 crack spread for Maya crude oil has risen to $50 a barrel in the first quarter of 2023, from $48 a barrel in the fourth quarter last year.

Foley also praised refinery employees for their safety performance last year.

"I would like to recognize our team at the refinery for finishing the year with zero recordable injuries in 2022," Foley said. "This is the first time such a record has been achieved in the 104-year history of this facility." 

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