Senior executives of LyondellBasell Industries NV recently announced that the global chemicals maker will operate its 289,000 b/d Houston oil refinery at 80% utilization rate. This decision is due to the scheduled maintenance of a fluid catalytic cracking unit.

According to Kim Foley, LyondellBasell’s executive vice president of intermediates, derivatives and refining, crude throughputs at the refinery are expected to be approximately 80% of capacity in the fourth quarter. This aligns with the previously announced planned FCC maintenance.

The planned utilization rate at the refinery seems to be lower than the originally forecasted 93% for Q3. However, LyondellBasell has not disclosed the actual Q3 refinery utilization rate.

Foley explained that during the third quarter, refinery cracks, especially distillate cracks, were highly favorable compared to historical levels. As a result, the company secured attractive margins for a portion of its refinery output through 2024. However, better-than-expected distillate cracks in September resulted in losses related to the distillate hedging program.

The company remains committed to the safe operation of the refinery assets until at least the end of the first quarter of 2025.

LyondellBasell also has plans for new projects at the Houston refinery site to support its “circular and low carbon solutions” as part of its advanced plastics recycling plan.

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