HOUSTON (ICIS)--LyondellBasell expects to run its refinery in Houston at 80% of its throughput capacity during the first quarter, the same rate as the fourth quarter, the CEO said on Friday.
During the fourth quarter, the refinery processed an average of 214,000 bbl/day of oil, said Bob Patel, CEO. He made his comments during an earnings conference call.
The refinery can process 268,000 bbl/day of crude.
In general, refining margins should remain steady until demand for jet fuel and gasoline improve.
In addition to refined products, LyondellBasell also makes methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) and ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE). These are oxyfuels that countries outside of the US use to boost the octane rating of gasoline.
Patel said LyondellBasell has not had problems selling volumes of oxyfuels. "It's just the margins have been essentially zero."
If driving recovers as a result of increasing vaccinations, then LyondellBasell's oxyfuels business can contribute to the company's earnings, Patel said.
Because oxyfuels are blended into gasoline, that earnings boost could take place even if air travel does not recover to pre-pandemic levels.
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