Emissions

Air quality is important for all communities.

LyondellBasell works diligently to reduce our global air emissions.

Retrofitting emissions sources with the latest clean burning technologies helps us to reduce emissions and conserve natural resources and energy.

Nitrous Oxides (NOx)

In our operations, NOx is produced by the combustion of fuels to produce heat, steam, and electricity, and also by flaring. The majority of these emissions are produced by our chemical and refining operations; NOx emissions decreased by over 11% in 2016 to 7,230 metric tons. 

Sulfur Oxides (SOx)

At LyondellBasell, the majority of SOx emissions arise from fuel combustion and the removal of sulfur from our fuel products; providing clean, low sulfur fuels for transportation contributes to a cleaner environment.

In 2016, our SOx emissions increased by 15% to 1,920 metric tons.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are substances originating either from a natural source such as vegetation, or from man-made sources, such as solvents and fuels. VOCs can combine with nitrous oxides and sunlight to produce ground level ozone, also known as smog.

The production of fuels, chemicals, and polymers involves the processing, storage and transfer of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). During these operations, small amounts of VOCs can be lost to the atmosphere. VOCs emissions can also result from small leaks on pump seals, valve packing and connectors; these “fugitive emissions” may make up a significant amount of a facility’s VOC emissions.

Our VOC emissions experienced an increase of almost 3% to approximately 8340 metric tons in 2016. 

Among the contributing factors were post-commissioning and operational problems in Bayport Choate, Morris and Victoria. 

Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Carbon monoxide emissions are produced by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Despite remaining flat for some years, CO emissions fell slightly to 5,370 metric tons in 2016. Closely tied to flaring performance, CO emissions reflect a decrease in hydrocarbons being sent to flare at several sites.

Particulate Matter (PM)

During the course of manufacturing our products, small amounts of fine airborne particulates are emitted. These emissions arise from polymer transfer and storage operations and the combustion of fossil fuels.

In recent years, many LyondellBasell facilities installed low-emission burners in heaters and furnaces which resulted in a steady reduction in particulate emissions year-on-year since 2012. In 2016 we achieved almost a 10% reduction on the previous year, largely in part due to the increased use of natural gas in Berre.