Lyondell Houston refinery maintenance staffed for safety, reliability: company

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of LyondellBasell-Houston Refining is seen in Houston, Texas, U.S. August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif/File Photo

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Lyondell Basell Industries said maintenance operations were staffed at its Houston refinery to assure safety and reliability.

On Tuesday, Gulf Coast market sources told Reuters hundreds of contractors had been sent home this week to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading in the 263,776 barrel-per-day refinery.

Those contractors work for companies hired by Lyondell to perform maintenance on units in the refinery.

Lyondell employee operations and maintenance staff continue to work in the refinery, the sources said.

“At this time, maintenance activities are staffed to ensure safe and reliable operations,” said Lyondell spokeswoman Chevalier Gray.

Lyondell’s statement said nothing about staffing levels or if the maintenance is of the same scope as it was prior to this week.

The sources said the contractors remaining in the refinery were focused on inspecting and then repairing the refinery’s shut gasoline-producing FCC, which has been offline since a Feb. 16 fire.

Gray said Lyondell has instituted policies, like those at most refineries, to increase social distancing along with cleaning and sanitization of work spaces.

Lyondell has also released office staff, and others whose work allows, to work from home, Gray said.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Nick Zieminski