* Refinery ran 1,000 bpd beyond nameplate capacity
* Company says can improve FCC production
(Adds details, background)
HOUSTON, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Chemical company Lyondell Basell (LYB.N) maximized throughput at its Houston refinery averaging crude oil throughput of 269,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the third quarter, about 1,000 bpd beyond the refinery’s nameplate capacity, company Chief Executive Jim Gallogly said on Friday.
Lyondell under Gallogly has maintained the refinery’s nameplate capacity at about 268,000 barrels per calendar day although the U.S. Energy Information Administration rates the refinery’s crude oil intake capacity at 280,390 bpd.
“We’re running really hard at the refinery,” Gallogly said during the conference call to discuss third quarter results. “We’ve got our foot on the floor.”
Since becoming CEO in 2009, Gallogly’s focus in the refining segment has been to improve operations at the Houston refinery, which is the primary feedstock provider to Lyondell’s primary chemical business making polypropylene and polyolefins. Run rates were high on demand from its chemical plant.
Gallogly has said the refinery was poorly operated prior to 2009 and needed work to improve returns.
Lyondell overhauled the refinery’s 110,000 bpd gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit for 10 weeks in the first quarter of the year and Gallogly said further improvements are possible on the unit.
A second compressor on the FCC could be brought on-line with some maintenance work, he said.
“We got a little more juice we can add when we replace that,” Gallogly said.
The refinery’s improved operations provided operating income of $484 million in the third quarter of 2011 compared to $83 million the same quarter of the previous year.
The company reported net income for the third quarter of this year of $895 million or $1.51 per share, compared to $467 million or 84 cents a share in the same period of the previous year.
The refinery’s returns also benefited from being able to process lower-cost Maya crude oil. (Reporting by Erwin Seba;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)