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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
Form 10-K
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                         to                         
Commission file number: 001-34726
LyondellBasell Industries N.V.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Netherlands 98-0646235
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 (I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

1221 McKinney St.,4th Floor, One Vine Street
Suite 300LondonDelftseplein 27E
Houston,TexasW1J0AH3013AARotterdam
USA77010United KingdomNetherlands
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
(713)309-7200+44 (0)207220 2600+31 (0)102755 500
(Registrant’s telephone numbers, including area codes)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each ClassTrading Symbol Name of Each Exchange On Which Registered
Ordinary Shares, €0.04 Par ValueLYB New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    þ  Yes    ¨  No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    ¨  Yes     þ  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    þ  Yes    ¨  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    þ  Yes    ¨  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filerNon-accelerated filerSmaller reporting companyEmerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).      Yes      No
The aggregate market value of common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant on June 30, 2020, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, based on the closing price on that date of $65.72, was $16.8 billion. For purposes of this disclosure, in addition to the registrant’s executive officers and members of its Board of Directors, the registrant has included Access Industries, LLC and its affiliates as “affiliates.”
The registrant had 334,132,558 shares outstanding at February 23, 2021 (excluding 5,913,070 treasury shares).
Documents incorporated by reference:
Portions of the 2021 Proxy Statement, in connection with the Company’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (in Part III), as indicated herein.



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Page
PART I
PART II
PART III
PART IV



Table of Contents
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE “SAFE HARBOR” PROVISIONS OF THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995
This report includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). You can identify our forward-looking statements by the words “anticipate,” “estimate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “should,” “will,” “expect,” “objective,” “projection,” “forecast,” “goal,” “guidance,” “outlook,” “effort,” “target” and similar expressions.
We based forward-looking statements on our current expectations, estimates and projections of our business and the industries in which we operate. We caution you that these statements are not guarantees of future performance. They involve assumptions about future events that, while made in good faith, may prove to be incorrect and involve risks and uncertainties we cannot predict. Our actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what we have expressed or forecast in the forward-looking statements. Any differences could result from a variety of factors, including the following:
the cost of raw materials represents a substantial portion of our operating expenses and energy costs generally follow price trends of crude oil, natural gas liquids and/or natural gas; price volatility can significantly affect our results of operations and we may be unable to pass raw material and energy cost increases on to our customers due to the significant competition that we face, the commodity nature of our products and the time required to implement pricing changes;
our operations in the United States (“U.S.”) have benefited from low-cost natural gas and natural gas liquids; decreased availability of these materials (for example, from their export or regulations impacting hydraulic fracturing in the U.S.) could reduce the current benefits we receive;
if crude oil prices remain low relative to U.S. natural gas prices, we would see less benefit from low-cost natural gas and natural gas liquids and it could have a negative effect on our results of operations;
industry production capacities and operating rates may lead to periods of oversupply and low profitability;
we may face unplanned operating interruptions (including leaks, explosions, fires, weather-related incidents, mechanical failures, unscheduled downtime, supplier disruptions, labor shortages, strikes, work stoppages or other labor difficulties, transportation interruptions, spills and releases and other environmental incidents) at any of our facilities, which would negatively impact our operating results; for example, because the Houston refinery is our only refining operation, we would not have the ability to increase production elsewhere to mitigate the impact of any outage at that facility;
changes in general economic, business, political and regulatory conditions in the countries or regions in which we operate could increase our costs, restrict our operations and reduce our operating results;
our ability to execute our organic growth plans may be negatively affected by our ability to complete projects on time and on budget;
our ability to acquire new businesses and assets and integrate those operations into our existing operations and make cost-saving changes in operations;
uncertainties associated with worldwide economies could create reductions in demand and pricing, as well as increased counterparty risks, which could reduce liquidity or cause financial losses resulting from counterparty default;
uncertainties related to the extent and duration of the pandemic-related decline in demand, or other impacts due to the pandemic in geographic regions or markets served by us, or where our operations are located, including the risk of prolonged recession;


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the negative outcome of any legal, tax and environmental proceedings or changes in laws or regulations regarding legal, tax and environmental matters may increase our costs, reduce demand for our products, or otherwise limit our ability to achieve savings under current regulations;
any loss or non-renewal of favorable tax treatment under tax agreements or tax treaties, or changes in tax laws, regulations or treaties, may substantially increase our tax liabilities;
we may be required to reduce production or idle certain facilities because of the cyclical and volatile nature of the supply-demand balance in the chemical and refining industries, which would negatively affect our operating results;
we rely on continuing technological innovation, and an inability to protect our technology, or others’ technological developments, could negatively impact our competitive position;
we have significant international operations, and fluctuations in exchange rates, valuations of currencies and our possible inability to access cash from operations in certain jurisdictions on a tax-efficient basis, if at all, could negatively affect our liquidity and our results of operations;
we are subject to the risks of doing business at a global level, including wars, terrorist activities, political and economic instability and disruptions and changes in governmental policies, which could cause increased expenses, decreased demand or prices for our products and/or disruptions in operations, all of which could reduce our operating results;
if we are unable to comply with the terms of our credit facilities, indebtedness and other financing arrangements, those obligations could be accelerated, which we may not be able to repay; and
we may be unable to incur additional indebtedness or obtain financing on terms that we deem acceptable, including for refinancing of our current obligations; higher interest rates and costs of financing would increase our expenses.
Any of these factors, or a combination of these factors, could materially affect our future results of operations and the ultimate accuracy of the forward-looking statements. Our management cautions against putting undue reliance on forward-looking statements or projecting any future results based on such statements or present or prior earnings levels.
All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or any person acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section and any other cautionary statements that may accompany such forward-looking statements. Except as otherwise required by applicable law, we disclaim any duty to update any forward-looking statements. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in the “Risk Factors” section of this report.
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PART I
Items 1 and 2. Business and Properties.
OVERVIEW
LyondellBasell Industries N.V. is a global, independent chemical company and was incorporated, as a Naamloze Vennootschap, under Dutch law on October 15, 2009. Unless otherwise indicated, the “Company,” “we,” “our,” “us” and “LyondellBasell” are used in this report to refer to the businesses of LyondellBasell Industries N.V. and its consolidated subsidiaries. We are one of the world’s top independent chemical companies based on revenues.
We participate globally across the petrochemical value chain and are an industry leader in many of our product lines. Our chemicals businesses consist primarily of large processing plants that convert large volumes of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbon feedstocks into plastic resins and other chemicals. Our chemical products tend to be basic building blocks for other chemicals and plastics. Our plastic products are used in large volumes as well as smaller specialty applications. Our customers use our plastics and chemicals to manufacture a wide range of products that people use in their everyday lives including food packaging, home furnishings, automotive components, paints and coatings. Our refining business consists of our Houston refinery, which processes crude oil into refined products such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. We also develop and license chemical and polyolefin process technologies and manufacture and sell polyolefin catalysts.
Our financial performance is influenced by the supply and demand for our products, the cost and availability of feedstocks and commodity products, global and regional production capacity, our operational efficiency and our ability to control costs. We have a strong operational focus and, as a producer of large volume commodities, continuously strive to differentiate ourselves through safe, reliable and low-cost operations in all our businesses. We purchase large quantities of natural gas, electricity and steam which we use as energy to fuel our facilities and purchase large quantities of natural gas liquids and crude oil derivatives which we use as feedstocks. The relatively low cost of natural gas-derived raw materials in the U.S. versus the global cost of crude oil-derived raw materials has had a significant positive influence on the profitability of our North American operations.
SEGMENTS
We manage our operations through six operating segments. Our reportable segments are:
Olefins and Polyolefins—Americas (“O&P—Americas”). Our O&P—Americas segment produces and markets olefins and co-products, polyethylene and polypropylene.
Olefins and Polyolefins—Europe, Asia, International (“O&P—EAI”). Our O&P—EAI segment produces and markets olefins and co-products, polyethylene and polypropylene.
Intermediates and Derivatives (“I&D”). Our I&D segment produces and markets propylene oxide and its derivatives; oxyfuels and related products; and intermediate chemicals, such as styrene monomer, acetyls, ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol.
Advanced Polymer Solutions (“APS”). Our APS segment produces and markets compounding and solutions, such as polypropylene compounds, engineered plastics, masterbatches, colors and powders, engineered composites and advanced polymers, which includes Catalloy and polybutene-1.
Refining. Our Refining segment refines heavy, high-sulfur crude oil and other crude oils of varied types and sources available on the U.S. Gulf Coast into refined products, including gasoline and distillates.
Technology. Our Technology segment develops and licenses chemical and polyolefin process technologies and manufactures and sells polyolefin catalysts.
Financial information about our business segments and geographical areas can be found in Note 20 to the Consolidated Financial Statements. Information about the locations where we produce our primary products can be
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found under “Description of Properties.” No single customer accounted for 10% or more of our total revenues in 2020, 2019 or 2018.
Olefins and Polyolefins Segments Generally
We are one of the leading worldwide producers of olefins and polyethylene (“PE”) and we are the world’s second largest producer of polypropylene (“PP”). We manage our olefin and polyolefin business in two reportable segments, O&P–Americas and O&PEAI.
Olefins & Co-products—Ethylene is the most significant petrochemical in terms of worldwide production volume and is the key building block for PE and many other chemicals and plastics. Ethylene is produced by steam cracking hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane, butane and naphtha. This production results in co-products such as aromatics and other olefins, including propylene and butadiene. Ethylene and its co-products are fundamental to many parts of the economy, including the production of consumer products, packaging, housing and automotive components and other durable and nondurable goods.
Polyolefins—Polyolefins such as PE and PP are polymers derived from olefins including ethylene and propylene. Polyolefins are the most widely used thermoplastics in the world and are found in applications and products that enhance the everyday quality of life. Our products are used in consumer, automotive and industrial applications ranging from food and beverage packaging to housewares and construction materials.
Polyethylene—We produce high density polyethylene (“HDPE”), low density polyethylene (“LDPE”) and linear low density polyethylene (“LLDPE”). PE sales accounted for approximately 21%, 17% and 19% of our consolidated revenues in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Polypropylene—We produce PP homopolymers and copolymers. PP sales accounted for approximately 16%, 14% and 15% of our consolidated revenues in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Olefins and Polyolefins—Americas Segment
Overview
Our O&P—Americas segment produces and markets olefins and co-products, polyethylene and polypropylene.
Sales & Marketing / Customers
Most of the ethylene we produce is consumed internally as a raw material in the production of PE and other derivatives, with the balance sold to third party customers, primarily under multi-year contracts.
We use all the propylene we produce in the production of PP, propylene oxide and other derivatives of those products. We also purchase propylene from third parties. In addition to purchases of propylene, we purchase ethylene for resale, when necessary, to satisfy customer demand above our own production levels. Volumes of any of these products purchased for resale can vary significantly from period to period and are typically most significant during extended outages of our own production, such as during planned maintenance. However, purchased volumes have not historically had a significant impact on profits, except to the extent that they replace our lower-cost production.
Most of the ethylene and propylene production from our Channelview, Corpus Christi and La Porte, Texas facilities is shipped via a pipeline system, which has connections to numerous U.S. Gulf Coast consumers. This pipeline system extends from Corpus Christi to Mont Belvieu, Texas. In addition, exchange agreements with other ethylene and co-products producers allow access to customers who are not directly connected to this pipeline system. Some ethylene is shipped by railcar from our Clinton, Iowa facility to our Morris, Illinois facility and some is shipped directly to customers. Propylene from Clinton and Morris is generally shipped by marine vessel, barge, railcar or truck.
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In 2020, we added a total of 785 thousand tons of olefins and 1,170 thousand tons of PE capacity at our wholly-owned and joint venture facilities in North America. This capacity is based on our percentage ownership interest in the joint ventures’ total capacities. Our PP and PE production is typically sold through our sales organization to an extensive base of established customers and distributors servicing both the domestic and export markets either under annual contracts or on a spot basis. We have sales offices in various locations in North America and our polyolefins are primarily transported in North America by railcar or truck. Export sales are primarily to customers in Latin America, with sales to Asia expected to increase in the coming years as global supply and demand balances shift. We also consume PP in our PP compounds business, which is managed worldwide by our APS segment.
Joint Venture Relationships
In December 2020, we formed a 50/50 joint venture in Louisiana, which provides us with capacity of approximately 770 thousand tons of ethylene and 445 thousand tons of low density and linear-low density PE production per year. We operate the joint venture assets and market all the production on behalf of the joint venture.
We participate in a joint venture in Mexico, which provides us with capacity of approximately 290 thousand tons of PP production per year. We do not hold a majority interest in or have operational control of this joint venture.
The capacities are based on our percentage ownership of the joint venture’s total capacity.
Raw Materials
Raw material cost is the largest component of the total cost to produce ethylene and its co-products. The primary raw materials used in our Americas olefin facilities are natural gas liquids (“NGLs”) and heavy liquids. Heavy liquids include crude oil-based naphtha and other refined products, as well as condensate, a very light crude oil resulting from natural gas production. NGLs include ethane, propane and butane. The use of heavy liquid raw materials results in the production of significant volumes of co-products such as propylene, butadiene and benzene, as well as gasoline blending components, while the use of NGLs results in the production of a smaller volume of co-products.
Our ability to pass on raw material price increases to our customers is dependent on market-driven demand for olefins and polyolefins. Sales prices for products sold in the spot market are determined by market forces. Our contract prices are influenced by product supply and demand conditions, spot prices, indices published in industry publications and, in some instances, cost recovery formulas.
We can manufacture olefins by utilizing a variety of feedstocks, including heavy liquids and NGLs. Technological advances for extracting shale-based oil and gas have led to an increased supply of NGLs, providing a cost advantage over heavy liquids, particularly in the U.S. A plant’s flexibility to consume a wide range of raw materials generally provides an advantage over plants that are restricted in their processing capabilities. Our Americas facilities can process significant quantities of either heavy liquids or NGLs. We estimate that in the U.S. we can produce up to approximately 90% of our total ethylene output using NGLs. Changes in the raw material feedstock mix utilized in the production process will result in variances in production capacities among products. We believe our raw material flexibility in the U.S. is a key advantage in our production of ethylene and its co-products.
Industry Dynamics / Competition
With respect to olefins and polyolefins, competition is based on price and, to a lesser extent, on product quality, product delivery, reliability of supply, product performance and customer service. Profitability is affected not only by supply and demand for olefins and polyolefins, but also by raw material costs and price competition among producers, which may intensify due to, among other things, the addition of new capacity. In general, demand is a function of economic growth, including the regional dynamics that underlie global growth trends.
We compete in North America with other large marketers and producers, including global chemical companies, chemical divisions of large oil companies and regional marketers and producers.
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Based on published capacity data and including our proportionate share of joint ventures, we believe as of December 31, 2020, we were:
the second largest producer of ethylene in North America, with ethylene capacity of 6.2 million tons per year, including our share of our Louisiana-based joint venture capacity;
the third largest producer of PE in North America with 4.1 million tons per year including our share of our Louisiana-based joint venture capacity; and
the largest producer of PP in North America, with 1.9 million tons per year, including our share of our Mexican joint venture capacity and approximately 280 thousand tons of Catalloy capacity reported within our Advanced Polymer Solutions segment.
Olefins and Polyolefins—Europe, Asia, International Segment
Overview
Our O&PEAI segment produces and markets olefins and co-products, polyethylene and polypropylene.
Sales & Marketing / Customers
Our ethylene production is primarily consumed internally as a raw material in the production of polyolefins, and we purchase additional ethylene as needed to meet our production needs. Our propylene production is used as a raw material in the production of PP and propylene oxide and derivatives of those products, and we regularly purchase propylene from third parties because our internal needs exceed our internal production.
With respect to PP and PE, our production is typically sold through our sales organization to an extensive base of established customers under annual contracts or on a spot basis and is also sold through distributors. Our polyolefins are primarily transported in Europe by railcar or truck. In 2020, we added a total of 550 thousand tons of olefins, 400 thousand tons of PE and 310 thousand tons of PP at our wholly-owned and joint venture facilities. This capacity is based on our percentage ownership interest in the joint ventures’ total capacities.
Our regional sales offices are in various locations, including The Netherlands, Hong Kong, China, India, Australia and the United Arab Emirates. We also operate through a worldwide network of local sales and representative offices in Europe and Asia. Our joint ventures described below typically manage their domestic sales and marketing efforts independently, and we typically operate as their agent for all or a portion of their exports.
Joint Venture Relationships
On September 1, 2020, we established and started-up a 50/50 joint venture in China, which provides us with capacity of 550 thousand tons of ethylene, 400 thousand tons of linear-low density PE and 300 thousand tons of PP capacity. The materials produced at the joint venture facility are expected to be sold in China.
We participate in several manufacturing joint ventures in Saudi Arabia, China, Poland, South Korea, Thailand and The Netherlands. We do not hold majority interests in any of these joint ventures, nor do we have operational control. These ventures provide us with additional annual production capacity of approximately 1.5 million tons of PP, approximately 1.2 million tons of olefins and approximately 820 thousand tons of PE. These capacities are based on our percentage ownership interest in the joint ventures’ total capacities.
We generally license our polyolefin process technologies and supply catalysts to our joint ventures through our Technology segment. Some of our joint ventures are able to source cost advantaged raw materials from their local shareholders.
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Raw Materials
Raw material cost is the largest component of the total cost for the production of olefins and co-products. The primary raw material used in our European olefin facilities is naphtha; however, we also use advantaged NGLs. We have flexibility to vary the raw material mix and process conditions in our plants in order to maximize profitability as market prices for both feedstocks and products change. The principal raw materials used in the production of polyolefins are propylene and ethylene. In Europe, we have the capacity to produce approximately 50% of the propylene requirements for our European PP production and all of the ethylene requirements for our European PE production. Propylene and ethylene requirements that are not produced internally are generally acquired pursuant to long-term contracts with third party suppliers or via spot purchases.
Our ability to pass through the increased cost of raw materials to customers is dependent on global market demand for olefins and polyolefins. In general, the pricing for purchases and sales of most products is determined by global market forces, including the impacts of foreign exchange rates relative to the pricing of the underlying raw materials, most of which are priced in U.S. dollars. There can be a lag between raw material price changes and contract product price changes that will cause volatility in our product margins.
Industry Dynamics / Competition
With respect to olefins and polyolefins, competition is based on price, product quality, product delivery, reliability of supply, product performance and customer service. We compete with regional and multinational chemical companies and divisions of large oil companies. The petrochemical market has been affected by the price volatility of naphtha, the primary feedstock for olefins in the region.
Based on published capacity data and including our proportionate share of our joint ventures, we believe as of December 31, 2020, we were:
the fifth largest producer of ethylene in Europe with an ethylene capacity of 1.9 million tons per year;
the largest producer of PE in Europe with 2.2 million tons per year of capacity, including our share of our joint ventures in Poland and The Netherlands; and
the largest producer of PP in Europe with 2.7 million tons per year of capacity, including our share of our joint ventures in Poland, Belgium and The Netherlands, approximately 265 thousand tons of Catalloy capacity reported within our Advanced Polymer Solutions segment.
Intermediates and Derivatives Segment
Overview
Our I&D segment produces and markets propylene oxide (“PO”) and its derivatives, oxyfuels and related products, and intermediate chemicals such as styrene monomer (“SM”), acetyls, and ethylene oxides and derivatives.
PO and Derivatives—We produce PO through two distinct technologies, one of which yields tertiary butyl alcohol (“TBA”) as the co-product and the other of which yields SM as the co-product. The two technologies are mutually exclusive with dedicated assets for manufacturing either PO/TBA or PO/SM. PO is an intermediate commodity chemical and is a precursor of polyols, propylene glycol, propylene glycol ethers and butanediol. PO and derivatives are used in a variety of durable and consumable items with key applications such as polyurethanes used for insulation, automotive/furniture cushioning, coatings, surfactants, synthetic resins and several other household usages.
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Oxyfuels and Related Products—We produce two distinct ether-based oxyfuels, methyl tertiary butyl ether (“MTBE”) and ethyl tertiary butyl ether (“ETBE”). These oxyfuels are produced by converting the TBA co-product of PO into isobutylene and reacting with methanol or ethanol to produce either MTBE or ETBE. Both are used as high-octane gasoline components that help gasoline burn cleaner and reduce automobile emissions. Other TBA derivatives, which we refer to as “C4 chemicals,” are largely used to make synthetic rubber and other gasoline additives.
Intermediate Chemicals—We produce other commodity chemicals that utilize ethylene as a key component feedstock, including SM, acetyls and ethylene oxide derivatives. SM is utilized in various applications such as plastics, expandable polystyrene for packaging, foam cups and containers, insulation products and durables and engineering resins. Our acetyls products comprise methanol, glacial acetic acid (“GAA”) and vinyl acetate monomer (“VAM”). Natural gas (methane) is the feedstock for methanol, some of which is converted to GAA, and a portion of the GAA is reacted with ethylene to create VAM. VAM is an intermediate chemical used in fabric or wood treatments, pigments, coatings, films and adhesives. Ethylene oxide is an intermediate chemical that is used to produce ethylene glycol, glycol ethers and other derivatives. Ethylene oxide and its derivatives are used in the production of polyester, antifreeze fluids, solvents and other chemical products.
Sales & Marketing / Customers
We sell our PO and derivatives through multi-year sales and processing agreements as well as spot sales. Some of our contract sales agreements have cost plus pricing terms. PO and derivatives are transported by barge, marine vessel, pipeline, railcar and tank truck.
We sell our oxyfuels and related products under market and cost-based sales agreements and in the spot market. Oxyfuels are transported by barge, marine vessel and tank truck and are used as octane blending components worldwide outside of the U.S. due to their blending characteristics and emission benefits. C4 chemicals, such as high-purity isobutylene, are sold to producers of synthetic rubber and other chemical products primarily in the U.S. and Europe, and are transported by railcar, tank truck, pipeline and marine shipments.
Intermediate chemicals are shipped by barge, marine vessel, pipeline, railcar and tank truck. SM is sold globally into regions such as North America, Europe, Asia and South America export markets through spot sales and commercial contracts. Within acetyls, methanol is consumed internally to make GAA, used as a feedstock for oxyfuels and related products and also sold directly into the merchant commercial market. GAA is converted with ethylene to produce VAM which is sold worldwide under multi-year commercial contracts and on a spot basis.
Sales of our PO and derivatives, oxyfuels and related products, and intermediate chemicals are made by our marketing and sales personnel, and also through distributors and independent agents in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
Joint Venture Relationships
We have two PO joint ventures with Covestro AG, one in the U.S. and one in Europe. We operate four of the U.S. PO production facilities for the U.S. PO joint venture. Covestro’s interest represents ownership of an in-kind portion of the PO production of 680 thousand tons per year. We take, in-kind, the remaining PO production and all co-product production. The parties’ rights in the joint venture are based on off-take volumes related to actual production of PO as opposed to ownership percentages. Covestro also has the right to 50% of the PO and SM production of our European PO joint venture. Our proportional production capacity provided through this venture is approximately 160 thousand tons of PO and approximately 340 thousand tons of SM. We do not share marketing or product sales with Covestro under either of these PO joint ventures.
We also have a joint venture manufacturing relationship in China. This venture provides us with additional production capacity of approximately 50 thousand tons of PO. This capacity is based on our operational share of the joint venture’s total capacity.
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Raw Materials
The cost of raw materials is the largest component of total production cost for PO, its co-products and its derivatives. Propylene, isobutane or mixed butane, ethylene and benzene are the primary raw materials used in the production of PO and its co-products. The market prices of these raw materials historically have been related to the price of crude oil, NGLs and natural gas, as well as supply and demand for the raw materials.
In the U.S., we obtain a large portion of our propylene, benzene and ethylene raw materials needed for the production of PO and its co-products from our O&PAmericas segment and to a lesser extent from third parties. Raw materials for the non-U.S. production of PO and its co-products are obtained from our O&PEAI segment and from third parties. We consume a significant portion of our internally-produced PO in the production of PO derivatives.
The raw material requirements not sourced internally are purchased at market-based prices from numerous suppliers in the U.S. and Europe with which we have established contractual relationships, as well as in the spot market.
For the production of oxyfuels, we purchase our ethanol feedstock requirements from third parties, and obtain our methanol from both internal production and external sources. Carbon monoxide and methanol are the primary raw materials required for the production of GAA. We source carbon monoxide from internal production, which can be complemented by purchases from external sources as needed. The methanol required for our downstream production of acetyls is internally sourced from our methanol plants in La Porte, Texas, and Channelview, Texas. Natural gas is the primary raw material required for the production of methanol.
In addition to ethylene, acetic acid is a primary raw material for the production of VAM. We obtain all our requirements for acetic acid and ethylene from our internal production. Historically, we have used a large percentage of our acetic acid production to produce VAM.
Industry Dynamics / Competition
With respect to product competition, the market is influenced and based on a variety of factors, including product quality, price, reliability of supply, technical support, customer service and potential substitute materials. Profitability is affected by the worldwide level of demand along with price competition, which may intensify due to, among other things, new industry capacity and industry outages. Demand growth could be impacted by further development of alternative bio-based methodologies. Our major worldwide competitors include other multinational chemical and refining companies as well as some regional marketers and producers.
Based on published capacity data and including our proportionate share of our joint ventures, we believe as of December 31, 2020, we were:
the second largest producer of PO worldwide; and
the second largest producer of oxyfuels worldwide.
Advanced Polymer Solutions Segment
Overview
We formed the APS segment following our acquisition of A. Schulman, Inc. (“A. Schulman”) in August 2018. Our APS segment produces and markets compounding and solutions, such as polypropylene compounds, engineered plastics, masterbatches, colors and powders, engineered composites and advanced polymers, which include Catalloy and polybutene-1 polyolefin resins.
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Compounding and Solutions—Our polypropylene compounds are produced from blends of polyolefins and additives and are largely focused on automotive applications. Engineered plastics and engineered composites add value for more specialized high-performance applications used across a variety of industries. Masterbatches are compounds that provide differentiated properties when combined with commodity plastics used in packaging, agriculture and durable goods applications. Specialty powders are largely used to mold toys, industrial tanks and sporting goods such as kayaks. Performance colors provide powdered, pelletized and liquid color concentrates for the plastics industry.
Advanced PolymersCatalloy and polybutene-1 are unique polymers that can be used within the segment for downstream compounding or can be sold as raw materials to third parties. Catalloy is a line of differentiated propylene-based polymers that add value in packaging applications and construction materials such as the white membranes used in the commercial roofing market. Polybutene-1 is used in both specialty piping and packaging applications.
Sales & Marketing / Customers
Our products are sold through our global sales organization to a broad base of established customers and distributors under contract or on a spot basis. These products are transported to our customers primarily by either truck or bulk rail. The sales of compounding and solutions products accounted for approximately 12% of our consolidated revenues in each of 2020 and 2019 and 8% of consolidated revenue in 2018.
Joint Venture Relationships
We participate in several manufacturing joint ventures in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Thailand, China and Argentina. We hold majority interests and have operational control of the joint ventures in Argentina and Indonesia. We do not hold majority interests in any of the remaining joint ventures, nor do we have operational control. These ventures provide us with additional production capacity of approximately 90 thousand tons of compounding and solutions. These capacities are based on our percentage ownership interest in the joint ventures’ total capacities.
Raw Materials
The principal materials used in the production of our compounding and solutions products are polypropylene, polyethylene, polystyrene, nylon and titanium dioxide. Raw materials required for the production of our compounding and solutions products are obtained from our wholly owned or joint venture facilities and from a number of major plastic resin producers or other suppliers at market-based prices.
The principal raw materials used in the production of advanced polymers are ethylene, propylene and butene-1. Ethylene and propylene requirements that are not produced internally and externally-supplied butene-1 are acquired through long-term contracts with third party suppliers or via spot purchases.
Our ability to pass through the increased cost of raw materials to customers is dependent on global market demand. In general, the pricing for purchases and sales of most products is determined by global market forces.
Industry Dynamics / Competition
With respect to product competition, the market is influenced and based on a variety of factors, including price, product quality, product delivery, reliability of supply, product performance and customer service. We compete with regional and multinational marketers and producers of plastic resins and compounds.
Based on published capacity data and including our proportionate share of our joint ventures, we believe as of December 31, 2020, we were the largest global producer of polypropylene compounds.
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Refining Segment
Overview
The primary products of our Refining segment are refined products made from heavy, high-sulfur crude oil and other crude oils of varied types and sources available on the U.S. Gulf Coast. These refined products include gasoline and distillates.
Sales & Marketing / Customers
The Houston refinery’s products are primarily sold in bulk to other refiners, marketers, distributors and wholesalers at market-related prices. Most of the Houston refinery’s products are sold under contracts with a term of one year or less or are sold in the spot market. The Houston refinery’s products generally are transported to customers via pipelines and terminals owned and operated by other parties. The sales of refined products accounted for approximately 16%, 22% and 21% of our total revenues in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Raw Materials
Our Houston refinery, which is located on the Houston Ship Channel in Houston, Texas, has a heavy, high-sulfur crude oil processing capacity of approximately 268 thousand barrels per day on a calendar day basis (normal operating basis), or approximately 292 thousand barrels per day on a stream day basis (maximum achievable over a 24-hour period). The Houston refinery is a full conversion refinery designed to refine heavy, high-sulfur crude oil. This crude oil is more viscous and denser than traditional crude oil and contains higher concentrations of sulfur and heavy metals, making it more difficult to refine into gasoline and other high-value fuel products. While heavy, high-sulfur crude oil has historically been less costly to purchase than light, low-sulfur crude oil, in recent years the price difference has narrowed. U.S. production is predominantly light sweet crude and much of the heavy crude has generally been imported from Canada, Mexico and other global producers, which has at times been subject to supply disruptions.
We purchase the crude oil used as a raw material for the Houston refinery on the open market on a spot basis and under a number of supply agreements with regional producers, generally with terms varying from one to two years.
Industry Dynamics / Competition
Our refining competitors are major integrated oil companies, refineries owned or controlled by foreign governments and independent domestic refiners. Based on published data, as of January 2020, there were 135 operable crude oil refineries in the U.S., and total U.S. refinery capacity was approximately 19 million barrels per day. During 2020, the Houston refinery processed an average of approximately 223 thousand barrels per day of heavy crude oil.
Our refining operations compete for the purchases of crude oil based on price and quality. Supply disruptions could impact the availability and pricing. We compete in gasoline and distillate markets as a bulk supplier of fungible products satisfying industry and government specifications. Competition is based on price and location.
The markets for fuel products tend to be volatile as well as cyclical due to supply and demand fundamentals and changing crude oil and refined product prices. Crude oil prices are impacted by worldwide political events, the economics of exploration and production and refined products demand. Prices and demand for fuel products are influenced by seasonal and short-term factors such as weather and driving patterns, as well as by longer term issues such as the economy, environmental concerns, energy conservation and alternative fuels. Industry fuel products supply is dependent on short-term industry operating capabilities and on long-term refining capacity.
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A crack spread is a benchmark indication of refining margins based on the processing of a specific type of crude oil into an assumed selection of major refined products. The Houston refinery generally tracks the Maya 2-1-1 crack spread, which represents the difference between the current month U.S. Gulf Coast price of two barrels of Maya crude oil as set by Petróleos Mexicanos (“Pemex”) and one barrel each of U.S. Gulf Coast Reformulated Gasoline Blendstock for Oxygen Blending (“RBOB”) Gasoline and of U.S. Gulf Coast Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (“ULSD”). While these benchmark refining spreads are generally indicative of the level of profitability at the Houston refinery and similarly configured refineries, there are many other factors specific to each refinery and the industry in general, such as the value of refinery by-products, which influence operating results. Refinery by-products are products other than gasoline and distillates that represent about one-third of the total product volume, and include coke, sulfur, and lighter materials such as NGLs and crude olefins streams. The cost of Renewable Identification Numbers (“RINs”), which are renewable fuel credits mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”), can also affect profitability.
Technology Segment
Overview
Our Technology segment develops and licenses chemical and polyolefin process technologies and manufactures and sells polyolefin catalysts. We market our process technologies and our polyolefin catalysts to external customers and also use them in our own manufacturing operations. Over the past three years, approximately 20% to 25% of our catalyst sales were intercompany.
Our polyolefin process licenses are structured to provide a standard core technology, with individual customer needs met by adding customized modules that provide the required capabilities to produce the defined production grade slate and plant capacity. In addition to the basic license agreement, a range of services can also be provided, including project assistance, training, assistance in starting up the plant and ongoing technical support after start-up. We may also offer marketing and sales services. In addition, licensees may continue to purchase polyolefin catalysts that are consumed in the production process, generally under long-term catalyst supply agreements with us.
Research and Development
Our research and development (“R&D”) activities are designed to improve our existing products and processes, and discover and commercialize new materials, catalysts and processes. These activities focus on product and application development, process development, catalyst development and fundamental polyolefin-focused research.
In 2020, 2019 and 2018, our R&D expenditures were $113 million, $111 million and $115 million, respectively. A portion of these expenses are related to technical support and customer service and are allocated to the other business segments. In 2020, 2019 and 2018, approximately 45%, 50% and 45%, respectively, of all R&D costs were allocated to business segments other than Technology.
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GENERAL
Intellectual Property
We maintain an extensive patent portfolio and continue to file new patent applications in the U.S. and other countries. As of December 31, 2020, we owned over 6,000 patents and patent applications worldwide. Our patents and trade secrets cover our processes, products and catalysts and are significant to our competitive position, particularly with regard to PO, intermediate chemicals, petrochemicals, polymers and our process technologies. While we believe that our intellectual property provides competitive advantages, we do not regard our businesses as being materially dependent upon any single patent, trade secret or trademark. Some of our production capacity operates under licenses from third parties.
Environmental
Most of our operations are affected by national, state, regional and local environmental laws. Matters pertaining to the environment are discussed in Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors; Part I, Item 3. Legal Proceedings; Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations; and Notes 2 and 17 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
We have made, and intend to continue to make, the expenditures necessary for compliance with applicable laws and regulations relating to environmental, health and safety matters. We incurred capital expenditures of $195 million in 2020 for health, safety and environmental compliance purposes and improvement programs, and estimate such expenditures to be approximately $260 million in 2021 and $250 million in 2022.
While capital expenditures or operating costs for environmental compliance, including compliance with potential legislation and potential regulation related to climate change, cannot be predicted with certainty, we do not believe they will have a material effect on our competitive position.
While there can be no assurance that physical risks to our facilities and supply chain due to climate change will not occur in the future, we do not believe these risks are material in the near term.
Human Capital
Our success as a company is tied to the passion, knowledge and talent of our global team. We believe in integrity, diversity and fairness, and we focus on creating a work environment that is safe, respectful and inspires employees to strive for excellence. We recognize that individuals cannot succeed alone; we believe in the power of many and place a strong emphasis on teamwork.
We reward performance based on personal, team and company results. We engage in open and ongoing dialogue with employees and their representatives to ensure a proper balance between the best interests of the Company and its employees. At a minimum, we provide all workers with fair wages and uphold all applicable fair wage laws, wherever we work. We never use child, forced, bonded or involuntary labor, and we do not knowingly work with subcontractors or suppliers who use child or forced labor or engage in human trafficking practices. In several of our locations, we partner with employee representatives on initiatives such as health and safety. We use the services of contractors, primarily to assist with non-core business functions, and we require that all contractors adhere to our operational excellence standards and GoalZERO, a comprehensive program to protect the health and safety of our employees and contractors.
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Our Code of Conduct sets out our expectations on topics such as respecting fellow employees, anti-corruption, conflicts of interest, trade compliance, anti-trust and competition law, insider trading, sanctions, misconduct and political donations. It is available in 18 languages on our company website. New employees are trained on the Code and all employees complete annual refresher training. In 2020, we adopted a human rights policy that established our standards for workforce health and safety; prevention of discrimination, harassment and retaliation; diversity and inclusion; workplace security; working conditions and fair wages; freedom of association; freely chosen employment; and child labor protections.
Demographics
As of December 31, 2020, we employed approximately 19,200 full-time and part-time employees around the world. Of this total, approximately 8,600 were in the U.S. and Canada and another 8,100 were in Europe. The remainder of our employees are in other global locations.
As of December 31, 2020, approximately 900 of our employees in the U.S. were represented by labor unions. Most of our employees in Europe and Latin America, and some of our employees in Asia Pacific, are subject to staff council or works council coverage or collective bargaining agreements.
Some examples of key programs and initiatives that are focused to attract, develop and retain our diverse workforce include:
Talent Development and Engagement
We believe in building an engaged, talented workforce by developing skill sets, supporting diversity and ensuring fair employment and work practices. In July 2020, we accelerated our efforts in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) with the appointment of a Chief Talent & Diversity Officer, the establishment of a DEI Leadership Council, the development of a multi-year DEI strategy, and the implementation of activities focused on listening to our employees and obtaining their perspectives on DEI.
Employee growth and development are key elements supporting our vision of superior performance. We provide development opportunities for our employees through on-the-job experiences, learning from others, and in-class and online learning. In 2020, we offered more than 308,000 hours of training to our employees through both in-person classes and our online learning management system. We continue the investment in our leadership through Leadership Development programs, including accelerated development academies and robust development planning targeted at our high potential leaders. We encourage high performance and alignment with business goals through our performance management system which includes annual goal setting, continuous performance conversations throughout the year, and a year-end process to measure performance against goals. Employees are measured not only on results delivered, but how they are delivered based on established enterprise-wide competencies.
Safety
We are committed to providing a safe workplace, free from recognized hazards, and we comply with all applicable health and safety laws and recognized standards. Information on occupational health services is provided globally throughout the new hire on-boarding process and offered in various languages dependent on the site location. GoalZERO is our commitment to operating safely and with a goal of zero incidents, zero injuries and zero accidents. We cultivate a GoalZERO mindset with clear standards, regular communication, training, and targeted campaigns and events, including our annual Global Safety Day.
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As the COVID-19 pandemic spread around the globe, we continued to operate with three key objectives: protecting the health and safety of our people; ensuring the safety and security of our work locations; and maintaining business continuity with our customers and suppliers. We quickly mobilized to develop a globally coordinated, locally implemented plan to protect our workforce at the beginning of the pandemic, which we have regularly updated as new developments occurred. Among the numerous safety measures and protocols we developed were: strict social distancing and facial coverage, critical personal protective equipment, thoughtful procedures for return to workplaces, and several initiatives to support our employees’ mental health.
Health, wellness, welfare and family resources
Full-time employees at our major offices and manufacturing sites receive competitive benefits which may include, depending on location, the following: basic health and welfare benefits, which include medical coverage; life and accident insurance; business travel accident insurance; disability protection; retirement, savings and pension plans; share programs; and paid time off. Employees at our large sites have access to health services at an on-site clinic on paid work-time. We have defined benefit pension plans that cover employees in the U.S. and various non-U.S. countries. In addition, we provide other post-employment benefits such as early retirement and deferred compensation severance benefits to employees of certain non-U.S. countries.
In 2020, we implemented family-friendly policies that expanded the availability of paid parental leave, provided financial reimbursement for certain adoption expenses, and ensured all employees globally have a minimum of ten paid vacation or personal leave days.
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INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

Our executive officers as of February 25, 2021 were as follows:

Name and Age
Significant Experience
Bhavesh V. (“Bob”) Patel, 54Chief Executive Officer since January 2015 and member of the Board of Directors since June 2018.
 
Executive Vice President, Olefins and Polyolefins–EAI and Technology, with responsibility for EAI Manufacturing, from October 2013 to January 2015.
 
Senior Vice President, Olefins and Polyolefins–EAI and Technology from November 2010 to October 2013.

Senior Vice President, Olefins and Polyolefins–Americas from March 2010 to June
2011.
Michael C. McMurray, 56Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since November 2019.

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Owens Corning, a global manufacturer of insulation, roofing and fiberglass composites, from August 2012 to November 2019.
James Guilfoyle, 50
Executive Vice President, Advanced Polymer Solutions & Global Supply Chain since July 2018.

Senior Vice President, Global Intermediates & Derivatives and Global Supply Chain from February 2017 to July 2018.
 
Senior Vice President, Global Intermediates and Derivatives from June 2015 to February 2017.
 
Vice President of Global Propylene Oxide and Co-Products from March 2015 to May 2015.
 
Director of Polymer Sales Americas from January 2012 to February 2015.
Jeffrey Kaplan, 52
Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer since March 2015.
 
Deputy General Counsel from December 2009 to March 2015.
Kenneth (“Ken”) Lane, 52
Executive Vice President, Global Olefins and Polyolefins since July 2019.

President, Monomers Division at BASF, a German chemical company, from January 2019 to July 2019.

President, Global Catalysts at BASF from June 2013 to December 2018.
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Name and Age
Significant Experience
Torkel Rhenman, 57
Executive Vice President, Intermediates and Derivatives, and Refining since August 2020.

Executive Vice President, Intermediates & Derivatives from July 2019 to July 2020.

Chief Executive Officer and Director of Lhoist Group, a privately held minerals and mining company, from 2012 to 2017.
Kim Foley, 54
Senior Vice President, HSE, Global Engineering and Turnarounds since August 2020.

Vice President, Health, Safety and Environment from October 2019 to July 2020.

Site Manager at Channelview from May 2017 to October 2019.

Senior Director, Global Supply Chain from January 2016 to May 2017.

Director, Supply Chain, Americas from August 2010 to January 2016.
Dale Friedrichs, 57
Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Global Projects since August 2020.

Vice President, Human Resources from October 2019 to July 2020.

Vice President, Health, Safety, Environment and Security from February 2017 to October 2019.
 
Site Manager of various facilities from January 1995 to February 2017.
James Seward, 53Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Technology and Sustainability since August 2020.

Senior Vice President, Technology Business, Sustainability, and Olefins & Polyolefins, Europe, Asia and International Joint Venture Management from September 2018 to July 2020.

Vice President, Joint Ventures and International Marketing from May 2014 to August 2018.
Anup Sharma, 46
Senior Vice President, Global Business Services since February 2019.

Vice President and GE corporate officer at GE Digital, a software company for industrial businesses, from May 2016 to February 2019.

Global Chief Information Officer at GE Oil & Gas, a division of General Electric that owned investments in the petroleum industry, from 2011 to 2016.

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Description of Properties
Our principal manufacturing facilities as of December 31, 2020 are set forth below and are identified by the principal segment or segments using the facility. All of the facilities are wholly owned, except as otherwise noted.
LocationSegment
Americas
Bayport (Pasadena), TexasI&D
Bayport (Pasadena), Texas(1)
I&D
Bayport (Pasadena), TexasO&P–Americas
Channelview, TexasO&P–Americas
Channelview, Texas(1)(2)
I&D
Chocolate Bayou, Texas†O&P–Americas
Clinton, IowaO&P–Americas
Corpus Christi, TexasO&P–Americas
Edison, New JerseyO&P–Americas
Houston, TexasRefining
La Porte, Texas(3)
O&P–Americas
La Porte, Texas(3)
I&D
Lake Charles, LouisianaO&P–Americas
Lake Charles, Louisiana(4)
O&P–Americas
Matagorda, TexasO&P–Americas
Morris, IllinoisO&P–Americas
Tuscola, IllinoisO&P–Americas
Victoria, Texas†O&P–Americas
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LocationSegment
Europe
Berre l’Etang, FranceO&P–EAI
Botlek, Rotterdam, The Netherlands†I&D
Brindisi, ItalyO&P–EAI
Carrington, UK†O&P–EAI
Ferrara, ItalyO&P–EAI
Technology
Fos-sur-Mer, France†I&D
Frankfurt, Germany†O&P–EAI
Technology
Knapsack, Germany†O&P–EAI
APS
Kerpen, GermanyAPS
Ludwigshafen, Germany†Technology
Maasvlakte, The Netherlands(5)
I&D
Moerdijk, The Netherlands†APS
Münchsmünster, GermanyO&P–EAI
Tarragona, Spain(6)
O&P–EAI
APS
Wesseling, GermanyO&P–EAI
Asia-Pacific
Geelong, Australia†O&P–EAI
Panjin, China(7)
O&P–EAI
†     The facility is located on leased land.
(1)The Bayport PO/TBA plants and the Channelview PO/SM I plant are held by the U.S. PO joint venture between Covestro and Lyondell Chemical Company. These plants are located on land leased by the U.S. PO joint venture.
(2)Equistar Chemicals, LP operates a styrene maleic anhydride unit and a polybutadiene unit, which are owned by an unrelated party and are located within the Channelview facility on property leased from Equistar Chemicals, LP.
(3)The La Porte facilities are on contiguous property.
(4)The Lake Charles site is owned by the Louisiana joint venture and is located on land leased by the Louisiana joint venture.
(5)The Maasvlakte plant is owned by the European PO joint venture and is located on land leased by the European PO joint venture.
(6)The Tarragona PP facility is located on leased land; the compounds facility is located on co-owned land.
(7)The Panjin facility is owned by the Bora LyondellBasell Petrochemical Co. Ltd joint venture and is located on land leased by the joint venture.

Other Locations and Properties
We maintain executive offices in London, the United Kingdom; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and Houston, Texas. We maintain research facilities in Lansing, Michigan; Channelview, Texas; Cincinnati, Ohio; Ferrara, Italy and Frankfurt, Germany. Our Asia-Pacific headquarters are in Hong Kong. We also have technical support centers in Bayreuth, Germany; Geelong, Australia and Tarragona, Spain. We have various sales facilities worldwide.
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Website Access to SEC Reports
Our Internet website address is http://www.LyondellBasell.com. Information contained on our Internet website is not part of this report on Form 10-K.
Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to these reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 are available on our website, free of charge, as soon as reasonably practicable after such reports are filed with, or furnished to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Alternatively, these reports may be accessed at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

Item 1A.     Risk Factors.
You should carefully consider the following risk factors in addition to the other information included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Each of these risk factors could adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition, as well as adversely affect the value of an investment in our common stock.
Risks Related to our Business and Industry
The cyclicality and volatility of the industries in which we participate may cause significant fluctuations in our operating results.
Our business operations are subject to the cyclical and volatile nature of the supply-demand balance in the chemical and refining industries. Our future operating results are expected to continue to be affected by this cyclicality and volatility. The chemical and refining industries historically have experienced alternating periods of capacity shortages, causing prices and profit margins to increase, followed by periods of excess capacity, resulting in oversupply, declining capacity utilization rates and declining prices and profit margins.
In addition to changes in the supply and demand for products, changes in energy prices and other worldwide economic conditions can cause volatility. These factors result in significant fluctuations in profits and cash flow from period to period and over business cycles.
New capacity additions around the world may lead to periods of oversupply and lower profitability. The timing and extent of any changes to currently prevailing market conditions are uncertain and supply and demand may be unbalanced at any time. As a consequence, we are unable to accurately predict the extent or duration of future industry cycles or their effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
A sustained decrease in the price of crude oil may adversely impact the results of our operations, primarily in North America.
Energy costs generally follow price trends of crude oil and natural gas. These price trends may be highly volatile and cyclical. In the past, raw material and energy costs have experienced significant fluctuations that adversely affected our business segments’ results of operations. For example, we have benefited from the favorable ratio of U.S. crude oil prices to natural gas prices in the past. If the price of crude oil remains lower relative to U.S. natural gas prices or if the demand for natural gas and NGLs increases, this may have a negative impact on our results of operations.
Costs and limitations on supply of raw materials and energy may result in increased operating expenses.
The costs of raw materials and energy represent a substantial portion of our operating expenses. Due to the significant competition we face and the commodity nature of many of our products we are not always able to pass on raw material and energy cost increases to our customers. When we do have the ability to pass on the cost increases, we are not always able to do so quickly enough to avoid adverse impacts on our results of operations.
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Cost increases for raw materials also may increase working capital needs, which could reduce our liquidity and cash flow. Even if we increase our sales prices to reflect rising raw material and energy costs, demand for products may decrease as customers reduce their consumption or use substitute products, which may have an adverse impact on our results of operations. In addition, producers in natural gas cost-advantaged regions, such as the Middle East and North America, benefit from the lower prices of natural gas and NGLs. Competition from producers in these regions may cause us to reduce exports from Europe and elsewhere. Any such reductions may increase competition for product sales within Europe and other markets, which can result in lower margins in those regions.
For some of our raw materials and utilities there are a limited number of suppliers and, in some cases, the supplies are specific to the particular geographic region in which a facility is located. It is also common in the chemical and refining industries for a facility to have a sole, dedicated source for its utilities, such as steam, electricity and gas. Having a sole or limited number of suppliers may limit our negotiating power, particularly in the case of rising raw material costs. Any new supply agreements we enter into may not have terms as favorable as those contained in our current supply agreements.
Additionally, there is growing concern over the reliability of water sources, including around the U.S. Gulf Coast where several of our facilities are located. The decreased availability or less favorable pricing for water as a result of population growth, drought or regulation could negatively impact our operations, including by impacting our ability to produce or transport our products.
If our raw material or utility supplies were disrupted, our businesses may incur increased costs to procure alternative supplies or incur excessive downtime, which would have a negative impact on plant operations. Disruptions of supplies may occur as a result of transportation issues resulting from natural disasters, water levels, and interruptions in marine water routes, among other causes, that can affect the operations of vessels, barges, rails, trucks and pipeline traffic. These risks are particularly prevalent in the U.S. Gulf Coast area. Additionally, increasing exports of NGLs and crude oil from the U.S. or greater restrictions on hydraulic fracturing could restrict the availability of our raw materials, thereby increasing our costs.
With increased volatility in raw material costs, our suppliers could impose more onerous terms on us, resulting in shorter payment cycles and increasing our working capital requirements.
Our ability to source raw materials may be adversely affected by political instability, civil disturbances or other governmental actions.
We obtain a portion of our principal raw materials from sources in the Middle East and Central and South America that may be less politically stable than other areas in which we conduct business. Political instability, civil disturbances and actions by governments in these areas are more likely to substantially increase the price and decrease the supply of raw materials necessary for our operations, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
Incidents of civil unrest, including terrorist attacks and demonstrations that have been marked by violence, have occurred in a number of countries in the Middle East and South America. Some political regimes in these countries are threatened or have changed as a result of such unrest. Political instability and civil unrest could continue to spread in the region and involve other areas. Such unrest, if it continues to spread or grow in intensity, could lead to civil wars, regional conflicts or regime changes resulting in governments that are hostile to countries in which we conduct substantial business, such as in the U.S., Europe or their respective trading partners.
Our business is capital intensive and we rely on cash generated from operations and external financing to fund our growth and ongoing capital needs. Limitations on access to external financing could adversely affect our operating results.
We require significant capital to operate our current business and fund our growth strategy. Moreover, interest payments, dividends and the expansion of our current business or other business opportunities may require significant amounts of capital. We believe that our cash from operations currently will be sufficient to meet these
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needs. However, if we need external financing, our access to credit markets and pricing of our capital is dependent upon maintaining sufficient credit ratings from credit rating agencies and the state of the capital markets generally. There can be no assurances that we would be able to incur indebtedness on terms we deem acceptable, and it is possible that the cost of any financings could increase significantly, thereby increasing our expenses and decreasing our net income. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow or raise adequate external financing, including as a result of significant disruptions in the global credit markets, we could be forced to restrict our operations and growth opportunities, which could adversely affect our operating results.
We may use our $2.5 billion revolving credit facility, which backs our commercial paper program, to meet our cash needs, to the extent available. As of December 31, 2020, we had no borrowings or letters of credit outstanding under the facility and $500 million, net of discount, outstanding under our commercial paper program, leaving an unused and available credit capacity of $2,020 million. We may also meet our cash needs by selling receivables under our $900 million U.S. Receivables Facility. As of December 31, 2020, subject to a borrowing base of eligible receivables, we had availability of $757 million under this facility. In the event of a default under our credit facility or any of our senior notes, we could be required to immediately repay all outstanding borrowings and make cash deposits as collateral for all obligations the facility supports, which we may not be able to do. Any default under any of our credit arrangements could cause a default under many of our other credit agreements and debt instruments. Without waivers from lenders party to those agreements, any such default could have a material adverse effect on our ability to continue to operate.
Risks Related to our Operations
Our operations are subject to risks inherent in chemical and refining businesses, and we could be subject to liabilities for which we are not fully insured or that are not otherwise mitigated.
We maintain property, business interruption, product, general liability, casualty and other types of insurance that we believe are appropriate for our business and operations as well as in line with industry practices. However, we are not fully insured against all potential hazards incident to our business, including losses resulting from natural disasters, wars or terrorist acts. Changes in insurance market conditions have caused, and may in the future cause, premiums and deductibles for certain insurance policies to increase substantially and, in some instances, for certain insurance to become unavailable or available only for reduced amounts of coverage. If we were to incur a significant liability for which we were not fully insured, we might not be able to finance the amount of the uninsured liability on terms acceptable to us or at all, and might be obligated to divert a significant portion of our cash flow from normal business operations.
Our business, including our results of operations and reputation, could be adversely affected by safety or product liability issues.
Failure to appropriately manage safety, human health, product liability and environmental risks associated with our products, product life cycles and production processes could adversely impact employees, communities, stakeholders, our reputation and our results of operations. Public perception of the risks associated with our products and production processes could impact product acceptance and influence the regulatory environment in which we operate. While we have procedures and controls to manage safety risks, issues could be created by events outside of our control, including natural disasters, severe weather events and acts of sabotage.
Further, because a part of our business involves licensing polyolefin process technology, our licensees are exposed to similar risks involved in the manufacture and marketing of polyolefins. Hazardous incidents involving our licensees, if they do result or are perceived to result from use of our technologies, may harm our reputation, threaten our relationships with other licensees and/or lead to customer attrition and financial losses. Our policy of covering these risks through contractual limitations of liability and indemnities and through insurance may not always be effective. As a result, our financial condition and results of operation would be adversely affected, and other companies with competing technologies may have the opportunity to secure a competitive advantage.
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Interruptions of operations at our facilities may result in increased liabilities or lower operating results.
We own and operate large-scale facilities. Our operating results are dependent on the continued operation of our various production facilities and the ability to complete construction and maintenance projects on schedule. Interruptions at our facilities may materially reduce the productivity and profitability of a particular manufacturing facility, or our business as a whole, during and after the period of such operational difficulties. In recent years, we have had to shut down plants on the U.S. Gulf Coast, including the temporary shutdown of a portion of our Houston refinery, as a result of various hurricanes striking Texas and Louisiana. In addition, because the Houston refinery is our only refining operation, an outage at the refinery could have a particularly negative impact on our operating results as we do not have the ability to increase refining production elsewhere.
Although we take precautions to enhance the safety of our operations and minimize the risk of disruptions, our operations are subject to hazards inherent in chemical manufacturing and refining and the related storage and transportation of raw materials, products and wastes. These potential hazards include:
pipeline leaks and ruptures;
explosions;
fires;
severe weather and natural disasters;
mechanical failure;
unscheduled downtimes;
supplier disruptions;
labor shortages or other labor difficulties;
transportation interruptions;
remediation complications;
increased restrictions on, or the unavailability of, water for use at our manufacturing sites or for the transport of our products or raw materials;
chemical and oil spills;
discharges or releases of toxic or hazardous substances or gases;
shipment of incorrect or off-specification product to customers;
storage tank leaks;
other environmental risks; and
terrorist acts.
Some of these hazards may cause severe damage to or destruction of property and equipment or personal injury and loss of life and may result in suspension of operations or the shutdown of affected facilities.
Large capital projects can take many years to complete, and market conditions could deteriorate significantly between the project approval date and the project startup date, negatively impacting project returns. If we are unable to complete capital projects at their expected costs and in a timely manner, or if the market conditions assumed in our project economics deteriorate, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.

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Delays or cost increases related to capital spending programs involving engineering, procurement and construction of facilities could materially adversely affect our ability to achieve forecasted internal rates of return and operating results. For example, higher costs arising from the delayed construction of our world-scale PO/TBA plant in Houston, due to COVID-19, more extensive civil construction, and unexpected tariffs on materials are expected to add approximately 40 to 50% to our original cost estimate for the project, impacting our projected rate of return on the project. Delays in making required changes or upgrades to our facilities could subject us to fines or penalties as well as affect our ability to contract with our customers and supply certain products we produce. Such delays or cost increases may arise as a result of unpredictable factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:
denial of or delay in receiving requisite regulatory approvals and/or permits;
unplanned increases in the cost of construction materials or labor;
disruptions in transportation of components or construction materials;
adverse weather conditions, natural disasters or other events (such as equipment malfunctions, explosions, fires or spills) affecting our facilities, or those of vendors or suppliers;
shortages of sufficiently skilled labor, or labor disagreements resulting in unplanned work stoppages; and
nonperformance by, or disputes with, vendors, suppliers, contractors or subcontractors.
Any one or more of these factors could have a significant impact on our ongoing capital projects. If we were unable to make up the delays associated with such factors or to recover the related costs, or if market conditions change, it could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Shared control or lack of control of joint ventures may delay decisions or actions regarding our joint ventures.
A portion of our operations are conducted through joint ventures, where control may be exercised by or shared with unaffiliated third parties. We cannot control the actions of our joint venture partners, including any nonperformance, default or bankruptcy of joint venture partners. The joint ventures that we do not control may also lack financial reporting systems to provide adequate and timely information for our reporting purposes.
Our joint venture partners may have different interests or goals than we do and may take actions contrary to our requests, policies or objectives. Differences in views among the joint venture participants also may result in delayed decisions or in failures to agree on major matters, potentially adversely affecting the business and operations of the joint ventures and in turn our business and operations. We may develop a dispute with any of our partners over decisions affecting the venture that may result in litigation, arbitration or some other form of dispute resolution. If a joint venture participant acts contrary to our interest, it could harm our brand, business, results of operations and financial condition.
We may be required to record material charges against our earnings due to any number of events that could cause impairments to our assets.
We may be required to reduce production or idle facilities for extended periods of time or exit certain businesses as a result of the cyclical nature of our industry. Specifically, oversupplies of or lack of demand for particular products or high raw material prices may cause us to reduce production. We may choose to reduce production at certain facilities because we have off-take arrangements at other facilities, which make any reductions or idling unavailable at those facilities. Any decision to permanently close facilities or exit a business would likely result in impairment and other charges to earnings. For example, in the third quarter of 2020, our Refining segment recognized a non-cash impairment charge of $582 million related to our Houston refinery driven by the expectation of a prolonged reduction in travel and associated transportation fuels consumption resulting from the pandemic which created an oversupply in global fuel markets that will pressure refining profitability for an extended period of time.

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Temporary outages at our facilities can last for several quarters and sometimes longer. These outages could cause us to incur significant costs, including the expenses of maintaining and restarting these facilities. In addition, we have significant obligations under take-or-pay agreements. Even though we may reduce production at facilities, we may be required to continue to purchase or pay for utilities or raw materials under these arrangements.
Integration of acquisitions could disrupt our business and harm our financial condition and stock price.
We have made and may continue to make acquisitions in order to enhance our business. Acquisitions involve numerous risks, including meeting our standards for compliance, problems combining the purchased operations, technologies or products, unanticipated costs and liabilities, diversion of management’s attention from our core businesses, and potential loss of key employees.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to integrate successfully any businesses, products, technologies, or personnel that we might acquire. The integration of businesses that we may acquire is likely to be a complex, time-consuming, and expensive process and we may not realize the anticipated revenues, synergies, or other benefits associated with our acquisitions if we do not manage and operate the acquired business up to our expectations. If we are unable to efficiently operate as a combined organization utilizing common information and communication systems, operating procedures, financial controls, and human resources practices, our business, financial condition, and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Risks related to the Global Economy and Multinational Operations
Economic disruptions and downturns in general, and particularly continued global economic uncertainty or economic turmoil in emerging markets, could have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, operating results, financial condition and cash flows.
Our results of operations can be materially affected by adverse conditions in the financial markets and depressed economic conditions generally. Economic downturns in the businesses and geographic areas in which we sell our products could substantially reduce demand for our products and result in decreased sales volumes and increased credit risk. Recessionary environments adversely affect our business because demand for our products is reduced, particularly from our customers in industrial markets generally and the automotive and housing industries specifically, and may result in higher costs of capital. A significant portion of our revenues and earnings are derived from our business in Europe. In addition, most of our European transactions and assets, including cash reserves and receivables, are denominated in euros.
We also derive significant revenues from our business in emerging markets, particularly the emerging markets in Asia and South America. Any broad-based downturn in these emerging markets, or in a key market such as China, could require us to reduce export volumes into these markets and could also require us to divert product sales to less profitable markets. Any of these conditions could ultimately harm our overall business, prospects, operating results, financial condition and cash flows.
We sell products in highly competitive global markets and face significant price pressures.
We sell our products in highly competitive global markets. Due to the commodity nature of many of our products, competition in these markets is based primarily on price and, to a lesser extent, on product performance, product quality, product deliverability, reliability of supply and customer service. Often, we are not able to protect our market position for these products by product differentiation and may not be able to pass on cost increases to our customers due to the significant competition in our business.
In addition, we face increased competition from companies that may have greater financial resources and different cost structures or strategic goals than us. These include large integrated oil companies (some of which also have chemical businesses), government-owned businesses, and companies that receive subsidies or other government incentives to produce certain products in a specified geographic region. Continuing competition from these companies, especially in our olefin and refining businesses, could limit our ability to increase product sales prices in
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response to raw material and other cost increases, or could cause us to reduce product sales prices to compete effectively, which would reduce our profitability. Competitors with different cost structures or strategic goals than we have may be able to invest significant capital into their businesses, including expenditures for research and development. In addition, specialty products we produce may become commoditized over time. Increased competition could result in lower prices or lower sales volumes, which would have a negative impact on our results of operations.
We operate internationally and are subject to exchange rate fluctuations, exchange controls, political risks and other risks relating to international operations.
We operate internationally and are subject to the risks of doing business on a global level. These risks include fluctuations in currency exchange rates, economic instability and disruptions, restrictions on the transfer of funds and the imposition of trade restrictions or duties and tariffs, and complex regulations concerning privacy and data security. Additional risks from our multinational business include transportation delays and interruptions, war, terrorist activities, epidemics, pandemics, political instability, import and export controls, sanctions, changes in governmental policies, labor unrest and current and changing regulatory environments.
We generate revenues from export sales and operations that may be denominated in currencies other than the relevant functional currency. Exchange rates between these currencies and functional currencies in recent years have fluctuated significantly and may do so in the future. It is possible that fluctuations in exchange rates will result in reduced operating results. Additionally, we operate with the objective of having our worldwide cash available in the locations where it is needed, including the United Kingdom for our parent company’s significant cash obligations as a result of dividend payments. It is possible that we may not always be able to provide cash to other jurisdictions when needed or that such transfers of cash could be subject to additional taxes, including withholding taxes.
Our operating results could be negatively affected by the laws, rules and regulations, as well as political environments, in the jurisdictions in which we operate. There could be reduced demand for our products, decreases in the prices at which we can sell our products and disruptions of production or other operations. Trade protection measures such as quotas, duties, tariffs, safeguard measures or anti-dumping duties imposed in the countries in which we operate could negatively impact our business. Additionally, there may be substantial capital and other costs to comply with regulations and/or increased security costs or insurance premiums, any of which could reduce our operating results.
We obtain a portion of our principal raw materials from international sources that are subject to these same risks. Our compliance with applicable customs, currency exchange control regulations, transfer pricing regulations or any other laws or regulations to which we may be subject could be challenged. Furthermore, these laws may be modified, the result of which may be to prevent or limit subsidiaries from transferring cash to us.
Furthermore, we are subject to certain existing, and may be subject to possible future, laws that limit or may limit our activities while some of our competitors may not be subject to such laws, which may adversely affect our competitiveness.
Changes in tax laws and regulations could affect our tax rate and our results of operations.
We are a tax resident in the United Kingdom and are subject to the United Kingdom corporate income tax system. LyondellBasell Industries N.V. has little or no taxable income of its own because, as a holding company, it does not conduct any operations. Through our subsidiaries, we have substantial operations world-wide. Taxes are primarily paid on the earnings generated in various jurisdictions where our subsidiaries operate, including the U.S., The Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy.
There continues to be increased attention to the tax practices of multinational companies, including the European Union’s state aid investigations, proposals by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with respect to base erosion and profit shifting, and European Union tax directives and their implementation. Management does not believe that recent changes in income tax laws will have a material impact on our business,
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financial condition, or results of operations, although new or proposed changes to tax laws could affect our tax liabilities in the future.
Risks Related to Health, Safety, and the Environment

We cannot predict with certainty the extent of future costs under environmental, health and safety and other laws and regulations, and cannot guarantee they will not be material.
We may face liability arising out of the normal course of business, including alleged personal injury or property damage due to exposure to chemicals or other hazardous substances at our current or former facilities or chemicals that we manufacture, handle or own. In addition, because our products are components of a variety of other end-use products, we, along with other members of the chemical industry, are subject to potential claims related to those end-use products. Any substantial increase in the success of these types of claims could negatively affect our operating results.
We are subject to extensive national, regional, state and local environmental laws, regulations, directives, rules and ordinances concerning:
emissions to the air;
discharges onto land or surface waters or into groundwater; and
the generation, handling, storage, transportation, treatment, disposal and remediation of hazardous substances and waste materials.
Many of these laws and regulations provide for substantial fines and potential criminal sanctions for violations. Some of these laws and regulations are subject to varying and conflicting interpretations. In addition, some of these laws and regulations require us to meet specific financial responsibility requirements. Any substantial liability for environmental damage could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Although we have compliance programs and other processes intended to ensure compliance with all such regulations, we are subject to the risk that our compliance with such regulations could be challenged. Non-compliance with certain of these regulations could result in the incurrence of additional costs, penalties or assessments that could be material.
Our industry is subject to extensive government regulation, and existing, or future regulations may restrict our operations, increase our costs of operations or require us to make additional capital expenditures.
Compliance with regulatory requirements will result in higher operating costs, such as regulatory requirements relating to emissions, the security of our facilities, and the transportation, export or registration of our products. We generally expect that regulatory controls worldwide will become increasingly more demanding, but cannot accurately predict future developments.
Increasingly strict environmental laws and inspection and enforcement policies, could affect the handling, manufacture, use, emission or disposal of products, other materials or hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Stricter environmental, safety and health laws, regulations and enforcement policies could result in increased operating costs or capital expenditures to comply with such laws and regulations. Additionally, we are required to have permits for our businesses and are subject to licensing regulations. These permits and licenses are subject to renewal, modification and in some circumstances, revocation. Further, the permits and licenses are often difficult, time consuming and costly to obtain and could contain conditions that limit our operations.

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We may incur substantial costs to comply with climate change legislation and related regulatory initiatives.
There has been a broad range of proposed or promulgated international, national and state laws focusing on greenhouse gas (“GHG”) reduction. These proposed or promulgated laws apply or could apply in countries where we have interests or may have interests in the future. Laws and regulations in this field continue to evolve and, while they are likely to be increasingly widespread and stringent, at this stage it is not possible to accurately estimate either a timetable for implementation or our future compliance costs relating to implementation. Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to undertake ambitious efforts to reduce GHG emissions and strengthen adaptation to the effects of climate change. In February 2021, the U.S. recommitted to the Agreement after having withdrawn in August 2017. Other regions in which we operate, including, in particular, the European Union, are preparing national legislation and protection plans to implement their emission reduction commitments under the Agreement. In December 2020, European Union leadership agreed to cut GHG emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, a step toward achieving the European Union’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. These actions could result in increased cost of purchased energy and increased costs of compliance for impacted locations.
Our operations in Europe participate in the European Union Emissions Trading System (“ETS”) and we purchase annual emission allowances to meet our obligations. In light of changes resulting from the commencement of ETS Phase IV in 2021, we expect to incur additional costs in relation to future carbon or GHG emission trading schemes.
In the U.S., the EPA promulgated federal GHG regulations under the Clean Air Act affecting certain sources. The EPA issued mandatory GHG reporting requirements, requirements to obtain GHG permits for certain industrial plants and GHG performance standards for some facilities. Although the EPA recently scaled back certain GHG requirements, addressing climate change is a stated priority of President Biden and as such additional regulations and legislation are likely to be forthcoming at the U.S. federal or state level that could result in increased operating costs for compliance, or required acquisition or trading of emission allowances. Additionally, demand for the products we produce may be reduced.
Compliance with these regulations may result in increased permitting necessary for the operation of our business or for any of our growth plans. Difficulties in obtaining such permits could have an adverse effect on our future growth. Therefore, any future potential regulations and legislation could result in additional operating restrictions or delays in implementing growth projects or other capital investments, and could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Legislation and regulatory initiatives could lead to a decrease in demand for our products.
New or revised governmental regulations and independent studies relating to the effect of our products on health, safety and the environment may affect demand for our products and the cost of producing our products. Initiatives by governments and private interest groups will potentially require increased toxicological testing and risk assessments of a wide variety of chemicals, including chemicals used or produced by us. For example, in the United States, the National Toxicology Program (“NTP”) is a federal interagency program that seeks to identify and select for study chemicals and other substances to evaluate potential human health hazards. In the European Union, the Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (“REACH”) is regulation designed to identify the intrinsic properties of chemical substances, assess hazards and risks of the substances, and identify and implement the risk management measures to protect humans and the environment.
Assessments under NTP, REACH or similar programs or regulations in other jurisdictions may result in heightened concerns about the chemicals we use or produce and may result in additional requirements being placed on the production, handling, labeling or use of those chemicals. Such concerns and additional requirements could also increase the cost incurred by our customers to use our chemical products and otherwise limit the use of these products, which could lead to a decrease in demand for these products. Such a decrease in demand could have an adverse impact on our business and results of operations.

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The physical impacts of climate change can negatively impact our facilities and operations.
Potential physical impacts of climate change include increased frequency and severity of hurricanes and floods as well as drought conditions, and global sea level rise. Although we have preparedness plans in place designed to minimize impacts and enhance safety, should an event occur, it could have the potential to disrupt our supply chain and operations. A number of our facilities are located on the Gulf Coast, which has been impacted by hurricanes that have required us to temporarily shut down operations at those sites. In addition, our sites rely on rivers for transportation that may experience restrictions in times of drought or other unseasonal weather variation.
Increased regulation or deselection of plastic could lead to a decrease in demand growth for some of our products.

There is a growing concern with the accumulation of plastic, including microplastics, and other packaging waste in the environment. Additionally, plastics have recently faced increased public backlash and scrutiny. Policy measures to address this concern are being discussed or implemented by governments at all levels. In 2019, the international treaty governing transboundary shipments of waste, the Basel Convention, was amended to clarify its applicability to plastic waste. The European Commission has been undertaking a series of actions under its Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, including adoption of the Single Use Plastics Directive in 2019, which introduced policy measures for single use plastics including bans, product design requirements, extended producer responsibility obligations, and labeling requirements. Member states are required to transpose these measures into national law by July 2021. In addition, a host of single-use plastic bans and taxes have been passed by countries around the world and counties and municipalities throughout the U.S. Increased regulation of, or prohibition on, the use of certain plastic products could increase the costs incurred by our customers to use such products or otherwise limit the use of these products, and could lead to a decrease in demand for PE, PP, and other products we make. Such a decrease in demand could adversely affect our business, operating results, and financial condition.

General Risk Factors
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could continue to materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spread to countries worldwide and resulted in governments and other authorities implementing numerous measures to try to contain the disease, such as travel bans and restrictions, social distancing, quarantines, shelter-in-place orders and business shutdowns, among others. These measures caused significant economic disruption and adversely impacted the global economy, leading to reduced consumer spending and volatility in the global financial and commodities markets. Many of our facilities and employees are located in areas impacted by the virus. As a result of these measures and the general economic disruption, we experienced a decline in our financial results primarily in the second and third quarters of 2020, particularly in our Advanced Polymer Solutions and Refining segments. A return to more ordinary course of economic activity is dependent on the duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the severity and transmission rate of the virus, the extent and effectiveness of containment efforts, including the spread of virus variants, the availability of vaccines, and future policy decisions made by governments across the globe as they react to evolving local and global conditions.

We continue to work with our stakeholders (including customers, employees, suppliers, business partners, and local communities) to attempt to mitigate the impact of the global pandemic on our business, including by implementing policies and procedures to promote the safety of our employees, proactively reducing costs intended to allow us to protect against further risk, and investing in initiatives to support our long-term growth, while also focusing on maintaining liquidity. However, we cannot assure that these mitigation efforts will continue to be effective or successful. An extended period of global supply chain and economic disruption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic could have a material negative impact on our business, results of operations, access to sources of liquidity and financial condition. To the extent that the COVID-19 pandemic adversely impacts our business, results of operations, liquidity or financial condition, it may also have the effect of increasing many of the other risks described in “Risk Factors” set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
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Increased IT and cybersecurity threats and more sophisticated and targeted computer crime could pose a risk to our systems, networks, data, products, facilities and services.
Increased global information cybersecurity threats and more sophisticated, targeted computer crime pose a risk to the confidentiality, availability and integrity of our data, operations and infrastructure. While we attempt to mitigate these risks by employing a number of measures, including security measures, employee training, comprehensive monitoring of our networks and systems, and maintenance of backup and protective systems, our employees, systems, networks, products, facilities and services remain potentially vulnerable to sophisticated espionage or cyber-assault. Depending on their nature and scope, such threats could potentially lead to the compromise of confidential information, improper use of our systems and networks, manipulation and destruction of data, defective products, production downtimes and operational disruptions, which in turn could adversely affect our reputation, competitiveness and results of operations.
Many of our businesses depend on our intellectual property. Our future success will depend in part on our ability to protect our intellectual property rights, and our inability to do so could reduce our ability to maintain our competitiveness and margins.
We have a significant worldwide patent portfolio of issued and pending patents. These patents and patent applications, together with proprietary technical know-how, are significant to our competitive position, particularly with regard to PO, intermediate chemicals, polyolefins, licensing and catalysts. We rely on the patent, copyright and trade secret laws of the countries in which we operate to protect our investment in research and development, manufacturing and marketing. We operate plants, sell catalysts and products, participate in joint ventures, and license our process technology in many foreign jurisdictions, including those having heightened risks for intellectual property. In some of these instances, we must disclose at least a portion of our technology to third parties or regulatory bodies. In these cases, we rely primarily on contracts and trade secret laws to protect the associated trade secrets. However, we may be unable to prevent third parties from using our intellectual property without authorization. Proceedings to protect these rights could be costly, and we may not prevail.
The failure of our patents or confidentiality agreements to protect our processes, apparatuses, technology, trade secrets or proprietary know-how could result in significantly lower revenues, reduced profit margins and cash flows and/or loss of market share. We also may be subject to claims that our technology, patents or other intellectual property infringes on a third party’s intellectual property rights. Unfavorable resolution of these claims could result in restrictions on our ability to deliver the related service or in a settlement that could be material to us.
Adverse results of legal proceedings could materially adversely affect us.
We are subject to and may in the future be subject to a variety of legal proceedings and claims that arise out of the ordinary conduct of our business. Results of legal proceedings cannot be predicted with certainty. Irrespective of its merits, litigation may be both lengthy and disruptive to our operations and may cause significant expenditure and diversion of management attention. We may be faced with significant monetary damages or injunctive relief against us that could have an adverse impact on our business and results of operations should we fail to prevail in certain matters.
Significant changes in pension fund investment performance or assumptions relating to pension costs may adversely affect the valuation of pension obligations, the funded status of pension plans, and our pension cost.
Our pension cost is materially affected by the discount rates used to measure pension obligations, the level of plan assets available to fund those obligations at the measurement date and the expected long-term rates of return on plan assets. Significant changes in investment performance or a change in the portfolio mix of invested assets may result in corresponding increases and decreases in the value of plan assets, particularly equity securities, or in a change of the expected rate of return on plan assets. Any changes in key actuarial assumptions, such as the discount rate or mortality rate, would impact the valuation of pension obligations, affecting the reported funded status of our pension plans as well as the net periodic pension cost in the following fiscal years.
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Nearly all of our current pension plans have projected benefit obligations that exceed the fair value of the plan assets. As of December 31, 2020, the aggregate deficit was $1,482 million. Any declines in the fair values of the pension plans’ assets could require additional payments by us in order to maintain specified funding levels.
Our pension plans are subject to legislative and regulatory requirements of applicable jurisdictions, which could include, under certain circumstances, local governmental authority to terminate the plan.
See Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information regarding pensions and other postretirement benefits.
Item 1B.    Unresolved Staff Comments.
None.
Item 3.     Legal Proceedings.
Environmental Matters
From time to time we and our joint ventures receive notices or inquiries from government entities regarding alleged violations of environmental laws and regulations pertaining to, among other things, the disposal, emission and storage of chemical and petroleum substances, including hazardous wastes. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules require disclosure of certain environmental matters when a governmental authority is a party to the proceedings and the proceedings involve potential monetary sanctions that we reasonably believe could exceed $300,000. The matters below are disclosed solely pursuant to that requirement and we do not believe that any of these proceeding will have a material impact on the company’s Consolidated Financial Statements.
In March 2018, the Cologne, Germany local court issued a regulatory fine notice of €1,800,000 arising from a pipeline leak near our Wesseling, Germany facility. We expect the Cologne prosecutor to issue a corresponding payment request, which will resolve the matter.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been conducting an enforcement initiative regarding flare emissions at petrochemical plants. In July 2014, we received a Clean Air Act section 114 information request regarding flares at four U.S. facilities, and entered into discussions with EPA and the Department of Justice (DOJ). In December 2020, we reached a settlement agreement with EPA and DOJ to resolve claims related to alleged improper operation and maintenance of flares at the four facilities. The Company has agreed to pay a penalty of $4,100,000, and make investments in equipment at the facilities. The complaint and consent decree are expected to be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

In February 2020, the State of Texas filed suit against Houston Refining, LP, a subsidiary of LyondellBasell, in Travis County District Court seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief for violations of the Texas Clean Air Act related to several emission events. In July 2020, Harris County, Texas petitioned to intervene in the lawsuit and the State added additional claims to its petition relating to self-reported deviations of Houston Refining's air operating permit. We reasonably believe resolution of this matter could result in payment of a penalty in excess of $300,000.
Litigation and Other Matters
Information regarding our litigation and other legal proceedings can be found in Note 17 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Item 4.    Mine Safety Disclosures.
Not applicable.
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PART II 
Item 5.     Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Shareholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Market and Dividend Information
Our shares were listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) on October 14, 2010 under the symbol “LYB.”
The payment of dividends or distributions in the future will be subject to the requirements of Dutch law and the discretion of our Board of Directors. The declaration of any future cash dividends and, if declared, the amount of any such dividends, will depend upon general business conditions, our financial condition, our earnings and cash flow, our capital requirements, financial covenants and other contractual restrictions on the payment of dividends or distributions.
There can be no assurance that any dividends or distributions will be declared or paid in the future.
Holders
As of February 23, 2021, there were approximately 5,400 record holders of our shares, including Cede & Co. as nominee of the Depository Trust Company.
United Kingdom Tax Considerations
As a result of its United Kingdom tax residency, dividend distributions by LyondellBasell Industries N.V. to its shareholders are not subject to withholding tax, as the United Kingdom currently does not levy a withholding tax on dividend distributions.
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Performance Graph
The performance graph and the information contained in this section is not “soliciting material,” is being furnished, not filed, with the SEC and is not to be incorporated by reference into any of our filings under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act whether made before or after the date hereof and irrespective of any general incorporation language contained in such filing.
The graph below shows the relative investment performance of LyondellBasell Industries N.V. shares, the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Chemicals Index since December 31, 2015. The graph assumes that $100 was invested on December 31, 2015 and any dividends paid were reinvested at the date of payment. The graph is presented pursuant to SEC rules and is not meant to be an indication of our future performance.
 
lyb-20201231_g1.jpg

12/31/201512/31/201612/31/201712/31/201812/31/201912/31/2020
LyondellBasell Industries N.V.$100.00$102.90$137.61$107.75$128.67$132.07
S&P 500 Index$100.00$111.96$136.40$130.42$171.49$203.04
S&P 500 Chemicals Index$100.00$110.16$139.53$123.34$150.49$177.64
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
On May 29, 2020, we announced a share repurchase authorization of up to 34,004,563 of our ordinary shares through November 29, 2021, which superseded any prior repurchase authorizations and represents the maximum number of shares that may be purchased as of December 31, 2020. The maximum number of shares that may yet be purchased is not necessarily an indication of the number of shares that will ultimately be purchased.
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Item 6.     Selected Financial Data.
The following selected financial data was derived from our Consolidated Financial Statements, which were prepared from our books and records. In August 2018, we acquired all of the outstanding common stock of A. Schulman, Inc. (“A. Schulman”). As such, amounts below incorporate the businesses acquired from A. Schulman beginning August 2018. This data should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes thereto and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” below, which includes a discussion of factors that will enhance an understanding of this data.
 Year Ended December 31,
In millions of dollars, except per share data20202019201820172016
Results of operations data:
Sales and other operating revenues$27,753 $34,727 $39,004 $34,484 $29,183 
Operating income(a)
1,559 4,116 5,231 5,460 5,060 
Interest expense(b)
(526)(347)(360)(491)(322)
Income from equity investments256 225 289 321 367 
Income from continuing operations(a)(b)(c)
1,429 3,404 4,698 4,895 3,847 
Earnings per share from continuing operations:
Basic4.25 9.61 12.06 12.28 9.17 
Diluted4.25 9.60 12.03 12.28 9.15 
Loss from discontinued operations, net of tax(2)(7)(8)(18)(10)
Loss per share from discontinued operations:
Basic(0.01)(0.02)(0.02)(0.05)(0.02)
Diluted(0.01)(0.02)(0.02)(0.05)(0.02)
Balance sheet data:
Total assets$35,403 $30,435 $28,278 $26,206 $23,442 
Short-term debt663 445 885 68 594 
Long-term debt(d)
15,294 11,617 8,502 8,551 8,387 
Cash and cash equivalents1,763 858 332 1,523 875 
Short-term investments702 196 892 1,307 1,147 
Accounts receivable3,441 3,102 3,503 3,539 2,842 
Inventories4,344 4,588 4,515 4,217 3,809 
Working capital(e)
4,837 4,762 4,931 4,861 4,122 
Cash flow data:
Cash provided by (used in):
Operating activities$3,404 $4,961 $5,471 $5,206 $5,606 
Investing activities(4,906)(1,635)(3,559)(1,756)(2,301)
Expenditures for property, plant and equipment(1,947)(2,694)(2,105)(1,547)(2,243)
Financing activities2,271 (2,835)(3,008)(2,859)(3,349)
Dividends - common stock declared per share$4.20 $4.15 $4.00 $3.55 $3.33 
(a)Operating income and Income from continuing operations in 2020 include pre-tax charges of $37 million ($27 million, after tax) for integration costs associated with our acquisition of A. Schulman and a pre-tax non-cash charge of $582 million ( $446 million, after tax), related to impairment of long-lived assets at our Houston refinery. Integration activities related to our acquisition of A. Schulman were substantially completed by the third quarter of 2020.
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In 2019, we had pre-tax charges of $116 million ($89 million, after tax) for integration costs associated with our acquisition of A. Schulman.

In 2018, we had pre-tax acquisition-related transaction and integration costs of $73 million ($57 million, after tax) associated with the acquisition of A. Schulman.

In 2016, we had a pre-tax charge of $58 million ($37 million, after tax) for a pension settlement.

(b)Interest expense and Income from continuing operations in 2020 include pre-tax charges of $69 million ($53 million, after tax) related to the redemption of $1,000 million aggregate principal amount of our then outstanding 6% senior notes due 2021 and €750 million aggregate principal amount of our then outstanding 1.875% guaranteed notes due 2022.

In 2017, we had pre-tax charges of $113 million ($106 million, after tax) related to the redemption of $1,000 million aggregate principal amount of our then outstanding 5% senior notes due 2019.

(c)Income from continuing operations in 2019 and 2018 includes a non-cash tax benefit of $113 million and $358 million, respectively, from the previously unrecognized tax benefits and the release of associated accrued interest.

Also included in 2018 is a $34 million after tax gain on the sale of our carbon black subsidiary in France.

Income from continuing operations in 2017 includes an $819 million non-cash tax benefit related to the lower federal income tax rate resulting from the enactment of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, an after tax gain $103 million on the sale of our 27% interest in Geosel, a joint venture in France and a $20 million after tax gain on the sale of property in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Income from continuing operations in 2016 includes $135 million of out-of-period adjustments related to taxes on our cross-currency swaps and deferred liabilities related to some of our consolidated subsidiaries. Also included in 2016, is an after tax gain of $78 million on the sale of our wholly owned Argentine subsidiary.

(d)Includes Long-term debt and Current maturities of long-term debt.

(e)We define working capital as the sum of Accounts receivable and Inventories less Accounts payable.
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Item 7.    Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

GENERAL

This discussion should be read in conjunction with the information contained in our Consolidated Financial Statements, and the accompanying notes elsewhere in this report. Unless otherwise indicated, the “Company,” “we,” “us,” “our” or similar words are used to refer to LyondellBasell Industries N.V. together with its consolidated subsidiaries (“LyondellBasell N.V.”).

The discussion summarizing the significant factors affecting the results of operations and financial condition for the year ended December 31, 2018, can be found in Part II, “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 20, 2020 , of which Item 7 is incorporated herein by reference.
OVERVIEW
During 2020, we demonstrated financial and operational resilience against the challenging backdrop of a global pandemic, the associated recession, volatile oil prices and significant capacity additions in our industry.

Early in 2020, as the virus became more widespread, our leadership team established three principles to guide our actions in the short term. These were to (i) protect our employees, both from the virus in the workplace and also from widespread layoffs; (ii) prioritize cash flow and keep our commitments to our shareholders; and (iii) take action to strengthen the company for the future.

Our manufacturing operations have been designated as an essential industry to support society’s needs during the pandemic in the majority of the regions in which we operate. Our performance was supported by consumer-driven demand for many of our products and the recovery in demand for durable goods during the second half of the year. Our Refining and Oxyfuels & Related Products businesses suffered from the unprecedented decline in demand for transportation fuels that began during March 2020 due to the pandemic. During the year, we advanced our growth agenda through the formation of joint ventures in China and on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Our strengths in operational excellence, cost management and capital discipline served us well as we quickly adapted to dynamic conditions by minimizing working capital and bolstering liquidity by rapidly accessing capital markets and efficiently generating cash. We honored commitments to maintain an investment grade credit rating and continued to fund dividends and capital investments with cash from operations.
Significant items that affected results in 2020 relative to 2019 include:
Olefins and Polyolefins—Americas (“O&P—Americas”) and Olefins and Polyolefins—Europe, Asia, International (“O&P—EAI”) segment results declined primarily due to lower olefin and polyolefins margins;
Intermediates and Derivatives (“I&D”) segment results declined due to margin decreases primarily driven by our intermediate chemicals and oxyfuels and related products businesses; and
Refining segment results declined due to lower refining margins and a $582 million non-cash impairment charge which was recognized during the third quarter of 2020.
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Other noteworthy items include the following:

Launched production at our U.S. Gulf Coast high-density polyethylene plant using LyondellBasell's next-generation Hyperzone technology during the first quarter of 2020;
In April 2020, issued $2,000 million of Guaranteed Notes to bolster liquidity. Net proceeds from the sale of the notes totaled $1,974 million;
In April 2020, repaid $500 million outstanding under our Senior Revolving Credit Facility and $500 million outstanding under our U.S. Receivables Facility, which were borrowed in March 2020;
In August 2020, invested $472 million in our new 50 percent owned joint venture polyolefin complex in China with Liaoning Bora Enterprise Group using our polyolefin technologies;
In October 2020, issued $3,900 million of Guaranteed Notes to be used to repay certain outstanding borrowings and fund a portion of the Louisiana Integrated PolyEthylene JV LLC (“Louisiana Joint Venture”) purchase. Net proceeds from the sale of the notes totaled $3,848 million;
In the fourth quarter of 2020, repaid $500 million outstanding under our Term Loan due 2022 and all amounts outstanding on our Senior Notes due 2021 and Guaranteed Notes due 2022;
In December 2020, invested $2 billion to purchase a 50 percent interest in the newly formed Louisiana Joint Venture with Sasol Chemicals (USA) LLC;
In January 2021, signed an agreement to form a 50 percent owned joint venture with the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (“Sinopec”) which will construct a new PO and SM unit in China; and
In January 2021, repaid an additional $500 million outstanding under our Term Loan due 2022.
Results of operations for the periods discussed are presented in the table below.
  Year Ended December 31,
Millions of dollars20202019
Sales and other operating revenues$27,753 $34,727 
Cost of sales24,359 29,301 
Impairment of long-lived assets582 — 
Selling, general and administrative expenses1,140 1,199 
Research and development expenses113 111 
Operating income1,559 4,116 
Interest expense(526)(347)
Interest income12 19 
Other income, net85 39 
Income from equity investments256 225 
Income from continuing operations before income taxes1,386 4,052 
(Benefit from) provision for income taxes(43)648 
Income from continuing operations1,429 3,404