© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of LyondellBasell-Houston Refining is seen in Houston, Texas, U.S. August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Picture
By Erwin Seba
HOUSTON (Reuters) -The United Steelworkers union (USW) mentioned in a letter to members it was misled by Lyondell Basell Industries about doable patrons for the corporate’s Houston refinery, which the corporate has set for everlasting closure late this 12 months.
“The Worldwide Union has been approached by patrons who say not solely are they keen to purchase the refinery at a good market value however have been attempting to take action since earlier than the closure discover,” the USW mentioned in a letter seen by Reuters on Saturday.
The letter was despatched on Friday to members who work on the Lyondell refinery.
In response to the letter, the union mentioned it will contact authorities officers concerning the would-be patrons of the refinery and take additional actions involving union members sooner or later.
Lyondell spokesperson Nick Facchin mentioned the corporate “disagrees with the allegations” made by the union.
“Lyondell Basell is working to retain as a lot of its Houston refining staff as doable by way of a phased redeployment course of, which we lately introduced,” Facchin mentioned.
Affords made on the refinery when Lyondell was weighing a doable sale in 2021 fell in need of the refinery’s worth, he mentioned.
The letter was signed by Marcos Velez, assistant to the director for USW Area 13, which incorporates Texas.
Velez mentioned on Saturday Lyondell “flat-out” refused to supply redeployment when it introduced in April 2022 that the 263,776 barrel-per-day refinery would shut by the tip of 2023.
“Now solely as a result of staffing is so low that they can not safely run the ability are they discussing potential redeployment to different websites,” Velez mentioned.
Petrochemical maker Lyondell started the try to discover a purchaser in 2021 as a result of the refinery is not a obligatory a part of its world plastics manufacturing operations.
In a July 2022, Lyondell Chief Government Peter Vanacker mentioned the corporate was contemplating “very massive investments” on the website after the refinery closes to make it a part of a recycled plastics manufacturing system within the Houston space.
Sources conversant in the matter mentioned Kinder Morgan Inc (NYSE:), which operates a terminal close to the refinery, approached Lyondell a few doable sale.
Kinder Morgan spokesperson Amy Baek declined to touch upon Saturday.
Lyondell advised Kinder Morgan it wasn’t involved in promoting, the sources mentioned.
After a purchase order, Kinder Morgan deliberate to function the refinery’s logistics whereas an undisclosed accomplice would handle manufacturing.