LyondellBasell Concentrates Capex on PO/TBA Project as Profits Begin to Rebound
Chemical producer and petroleum refiner LyondellBasell Industries NV (NYSE:LYB) (Houston, Texas) has earmarked the majority of this year's growth project capital expenditures for its propylene oxide and tertiary butyl alcohol (PO/TBA) unit addition in Channelview, Texas. Work on the project ramped up during the fourth quarter of last year after slowing down earlier in the year, when the company reduced construction activity to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to save money. The unit is expected to be completed in late 2022, a year later than originally planned.
Industrial Info is tracking LyondellBasell projects, worth more than $6.4 billion, across the globe.
LyondellBasell's planned capital expenditures for 2021 amount to $2 billion, compared with $1.9 billion in 2020, when it slashed $500 million in capital spending. This year's capital spend includes $1 billion for maintenance and $1 billion for profit-generating growth projects, such as the PO/TBA unit addition. For more information, see Industrial Info's project report.
Industrial Info also is tracking an oxyfuels additives unit at its Bayport Propylene Glycol BLO facility in Pasadena, Texas, which will complement the PO/TBA unit addition at Channelview. For more information, see Industrial Info's project report.
The company expects a similar level of capital expenditures for 2022, followed by a small reduction in 2023, upon completion of the PO/TBA facility, said LyondellBasell Chief Executive Officer Bob Patel during last week's fourth-quarter earnings conference call with industry analysts. The company reported $855 million in net income for the just-ended quarter, up from $612 million a year earlier.
However, for all of 2020, net income was about $1.4 billion, down from nearly $3.4 billion in 2019. Among other things, reduced demand for transportation fuels amid the pandemic pressed its refining and oxyfuels business. LyondellBasell plans to continue running its 268,000-barrel-per-day Houston Refinery at 80% capacity in the first quarter. For more information, see November 23, 2020, article - NavigatIIR: LyondellBasell Slowly Resumes Work on Texas PO/TBA Project.
Still, the company has seen a rebound in profitability, particularly among its olefins and polyolefins segments, Patel said, as consumer-driven demand for packaging and non-durable products bounced back.
"The trajectory supports our belief that pandemic-driven reductions in demand for our products bottomed during the second quarter," Patel said.
Patel also took time to highlight some of LyondellBasell's achievements last year, such as completing of its 1.1 billion-pound-per-year Hyperzone 1 polyethylene project in La Porte, Texas; acquiring a 50% stake in Sasol Limited's (NYSE:SSL) (Johannesburg, South Africa) base chemicals business at its Lake Charles Chemical Complex in Westlake, Louisiana; and starting up a joint venture polyolefin complex with China's Liaoning Bora Enterprise Group (Bora) in the Liaoning province of northeastern China.
Industrial Info is tracking $1.38 billion worth of Bora LyondellBasell Petrochemical Company Limited projects in China. Some of the high-dollar items include:
- Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene Resins (ABS Unit Addition at the Panjin (Dawa) Petrochemical Complex; see project report.
- Panjin (Dawa) Petrochemical Complex Acrylonitrile Unit Addition; see project report.
- Panjin (Dawa) Petrochemical Complex Methyl Methacrylate Monomer (MMA) Unit Addition; see project report.