LyondellBasell Plans to Transform Houston Refinery into a Hydrogen Facility
LyondellBasell Plans to Transform Houston Refinery into a Hydrogen Facility

LyondellBasell Plans to Transform Houston Refinery into a Hydrogen Facility

  • 15-Mar-2023 6:48 PM
  • Journalist: Nina Jiang

Houston is gaining traction in the global energy conversation, as Hydrogen-based alternatives to fossil fuels are becoming more popular. Last week during CERAWeek, a massive energy conference held downtown, it became clear that Hydrogen could be key to decarbonizing operations and maintaining the city's regional energy employment base. Chemical giant announced plans for two regional hubs — one in Houston and the other in Cologne, Germany — that would aid in their companywide transformation towards becoming a leader in renewable energies like Hydrogen and recycled plastics.

"The refinery in Houston may play a very important role for the future," CEO Peter Vanacker stated "because it could be that piece of a puzzle that we have in order to build up that circular and low-carbon solution hub in the Gulf Coast."

Houston-based LyondellBasell recently announced plans to partner with Chevron, Air Liquide, and Uniper in pursuit of a Gulf Coast Hydrogen project. Ken Lane, executive vice president of olefins and polyolefins at the company, stated that their preferred site for the facility is their Houston refinery. This would be an advantageous spot due to its pipeline connection with crackers in Channelview, as well as its central location and access to the Houston Ship Channel. Furthermore, existing equipment at the refinery could potentially be reused to process low-carbon feedstocks before they are piped through to Channelview.

"That's going to be a great opportunity for us to further develop that site," Lane stated. "No final decision has been made yet, but we're excited about the opportunities that this site has for the future."

The refinery's potential redevelopment into a Hydrogen facility has made the site critical for Houston hub strategy. Its pipeline connections to their major petrochemical hub in Channelview make it invaluable. As such, offers to buy the refinery were inadequate; this was reiterated on Tuesday: "The value of the site far exceeds any purchase offer."

"That value opportunity for our company is much more important than any offer that we have received," he stated.

The company expressed its commitment to keeping jobs in the Houston region with the redevelopment of their site. According to CEO Vanacker, there is immense value in the specialized skill sets found within refineries and chemical plants situated along the Gulf Coast. This action will aid the business’s larger strategic objectives.

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