LyondellBasell to Exit Oil Refining Business

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Houston-based LyondellBasell Industries is expecting an 80% utilization rate for the first quarter of 2024 at its 289,000 b/d Houston refinery. The refinery will undergo coker maintenance during this period.

Kim Foley, LyondellBasell’s Executive Vice President of Intermediates, Derivatives, and Refining, mentioned in a conference call with analysts that the Houston refinery operated at 85% capacity during the fourth quarter of 2023, with a crude rate of 230,000 b/d. This decrease was due to both planned and unplanned downtime.

Foley stated that the compression of refining margins was caused by lower gasoline crack spreads. While the company expects an improvement in gasoline crack spreads, it predicts lower distillate cracks will offset this improvement.

The company estimates that the planned coker outage in Q1 will result in a $50 million decrease in Ebitda for the quarter.

LyondellBasell reiterates its plan to exit the oil refining business, with operations expected to end no later than the end of Q1 2025. As part of this transition, the company is developing new projects at the Houston refinery site to support advanced plastics recycling for circular and low carbon solutions.

—Reporting by Frank Tang, Editing by Michael Kelly

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