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LyondellBasell to close Houston refinery next year, announces plan to exit refining business

The interim CEO said although the company is leaving the refinery business, the site's location will give more opportunities for advancing future strategic plans.

HOUSTON — LyondellBasell announced Thursday it's closing its Houston refinery next year and is exiting the refining business.  

"After thoroughly analyzing our options, we have determined that exiting the refining business by the end of next year is the best strategic and financial path forward for the Company," said Ken Lane, interim CEO of LyondellBasell. "These decisions are never easy and we understand this has a very real impact on our refinery employees, their families and the community. We are committed to supporting our people through this transition."

Lane added that the company's exit will advance its decarbonization goals and the site's location will give more opportunities for advancing future strategic plans, including circularity. 

The company said that in its interim, it will continue serving the fuels market and consider potential transactions and alternatives for the site.

The 700-acre Pasadena plant is able to refine more than a quarter of a million barrels of oil per day, turning crude into transportation fuels like gasoline and diesel.

The refinery itself is more than 100 years old, although it's changed hands several times.

Although oil is in high demand these days, because of the Russian invasion, it's been on the decline as other sources of energy started to take place.

"Most of the leadership for Lyondell is in Europe and Europe is taking the lead in getting fossil fuels and heavy fuels, and of course, an old refinery that processes heavy crude is certainly one of them," said KHOU 11 energy expert Ed Hirs. 

Hirs said he thinks the company will eventually find a buyer. 

LyondellBasell has more than 500 employees. 

Hirs said workers should be able to find work with other companies and could be retained to help remediate the site.

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