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LyondellBasell to upgradeat six chemical sites in Texas and Iowas to reduce air pollution

October 20/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Three US subsidiaries of Dutch chemical giant LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (LBI) have agreed to make upgrades and perform compliance measures estimated to cost USD50 million to resolve allegations they violated the Clean Air Act and state air pollution control laws at six petrochemical manufacturing facilities located in Channelview, Corpus Christi, and LaPorte, Texas, and Clinton, Iowa, according to the Department of Justice and the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) statement.

LyondellBasell will also pay a USD3.4 million civil penalty. The settlement, announced last week by EPA, will eliminate thousands of tons of air pollution from flares.

According to the complaint, the companies failed to properly operate and monitor their industrial flares, which resulted in excess emissions of harmful air pollution at five facilities in Texas and one in Iowa. LBIs subsidiaries regularly oversteamed the flares at their facilities and failed to comply with other key operating constraints to ensure the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants contained in the gases routed to the flares are effectively combusted.

The EPA identified potential environmental justice concerns at the two Channelview facilities for exposure to particulate matter (2.5 micron), ozone, toxic cancer risk, and respiratory hazard. The significant emissions reductions of VOCs, HAPs, and greenhouse gases that todays settlement secures at the Channelview facilities serve to reduce exposure in the community to some of the same air pollutants that they are disproportionately exposed to.

The settlement requires the companies to install and operate air pollution control and monitoring technology to reduce flaring and the resulting harmful air pollution from 21 flares at the six facilities. Once fully implemented, the pollution controls are estimated to reduce emissions of climate-change-causing greenhouse gases, including CO2, methane, and ethane, by almost 92,000 tons per year. The settlement is also expected to reduce emissions of ozone-forming VOCs by almost 2,700 tons per year and of toxic air pollutants, including benzene, by nearly 400 tons per year.

LBI will take several steps to minimize the waste gas sent to its flares at each facility. At certain facilities, LyondellBasell will operate flare gas recovery systems that recover and recycle the gases instead of sending them to be combusted in a flare. The flare gas recovery systems will allow Lyondell to reuse these gases as a fuel at its facilities or a product for sale. Lyondell will also create waste minimization plans for each facility to further reduce flaring. For flaring that must occur, the agreement requires that Lyondell install and operate instruments and monitoring systems to ensure that the gases sent to its flares are efficiently combusted.

LyondellBasell will also perform air quality monitoring that is designed to detect the presence of benzene at the fence lines of the six covered plants. Monitoring results must be publicly posted, providing the neighboring communities with more information about their air quality. The monitoring requirements also include triggers for root cause analysis and corrective actions if fence line emissions exceed certain thresholds. Flare compliance is an ongoing priority for EPA under its National Air Toxics Initiative.

As MRC informed earlier, LyondellBasell aims to sell its Houston crude oil refinery as quickly as possible. The company said in early September, 2021, it is considering strategic options for the refinery, including a potential sale. US refiners last year suffered deep losses as the coronavirus pandemic slashed demand for motor fuels.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,638,370 tonnes in the first eight months of 2021, up by 10% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 989,570 tonnes in the first eight months of 2021, up by 30% year on year. Deliveries of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas shipments of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.

LyondellBasell is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. Driven by its employees around the globe, LyondellBasell produces materials and products that are key to advancing solutions to modern challenges, like enhancing food safety through lightweight and flexible packaging, protecting the purity of water supplies through stronger and more versatile pipes, improving the safety, comfort and fuel efficiency of many of the cars and trucks on the road, and ensuring the safe and effective functionality in electronics and appliances. LyondellBasell sells products into more than 100 countries and is the world"s largest producer of polymer compounds and the largest licensor of polyolefin technologies. In 2020, LyondellBasell was named to Fortune Magazine"s list of the "World"s Most Admired Companies" for the third consecutive year.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, benzene, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, LyondellBasell, USA.
Category:General News
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