LyondellBasell earnings fall 4 percent on quarterly profit

Houston petrochemical company LyondellBasell Industries’ profits softened a bit in the fourth quarter, sliding four percent from the same period a year earlier.

The company reported a fourth quarter profit of $763 million, compared to $795 million in the same period in 2015.

The growing chemical company suffered from some maintenance downtime and operational issues at its Houston Refinery, even though LyondellBasell’s quarterly revenues of $7.75 billion jumped nearly 10 percent as global petrochemical supply and demand balanced out more.

For the full year, Lyondell’s net income of $3.84 billion dipped from $4.47 billion in 2015.

“LyondellBasell posted good results for 2016 despite the impact of our heavy planned maintenance schedule and several refining operational upsets,” Chief Executive Bob Patel said in a prepared statement. “During the past several months, the industry outlook for 2017 has steadily improved.”

The company just completed its production expansion of ethylene — the primary building block of most plastics — at its Corpus Christi plant, and is about to start construction at a new $700 million, 1.1 billion pound polyethylene plastic plant just outside of Houston in La Porte.

The company also recently decided not to sell its Houston Refinery which was up for a potential sale.

LyondellBasell is continuing to advance, but still waiting to give the final go-ahead, on plans to build its biggest project ever — a plant to produce 900 million pounds of propylene oxide, as well as 2 billion pounds of tertiary butyl alcohol and its derivatives annually — in Channelview.

Propylene oxide is a chemical used to make everything from antifreeze to cosmetics. The tertiary butyl alcohol is a byproduct used as a solvent to make chemicals and gasoline additives.