As the plant manager of LyondellBasell’s Chocolate Bayou Polymers Plant in Alvin, Texas, Lawrence Moreaux wears a lot of hats. His role at the site includes employee safety, environmental stewardship, proactive reporting, mechanical integrity, asset reliability, human resource development, promoting career advancement, and working with the plant’s surrounding community to support the needs of the region.
“I want to lead by example and uphold LyondellBasell’s values ââof striving for excellence in everything we do, making our decisions and rewarding results and believing in the power of many,” said Moreaux.
Moreaux grew up in Orange, Texas and attended Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, where he earned a degree in chemical engineering. His first post-college job was a dual student at the LyondellBasell complexes Channelview and Bayport.
He was later hired as a full-time production engineer at the Channelview Complex. Over the years he has held positions of increasing responsibility at LyondellBasell, including production engineer, technical manager, laboratory manager, operations manager and plant manager at the Chocolate Bayou plant, which he has held for almost two years.
However, Moreaux’s professional achievements did not end there. From 2005 to 2015, he was also a senior engineering recruiter at the University of Houston.
Walk the line
Today, Moreaux is proud to chair AFPM’s Walk the Line program, an initiative to share process safety practices designed to help prevent open lines and misalignments in industrial plants.
Walk the Line has been very successful since its inception. Although the Walk the Line process has several aspects, it is particularly efficient at checking for open bleeding, Moreaux said.
“You can see elements of shift handover and definitely good critical bleed management processes for our systems,” he said. âBut more importantly, Walk the Line isn’t just a physical walk; it’s about making sure you have an independent review. Sometimes that other person can be a ‘buddy system’ or a new pair of eyes. “
Striving for continuous improvement is the core goal of Walk the Line, which unites all members of AFPM, he added.
“I don’t see it just as checklists or assessments, but as a tool to make workers’ jobs easier and information more accessible,” he said. “It is definitely helpful to make sure that the processes are robust and that the right engineering and management disciplines are in place to support the front line.”
âI think it’s important to give something back to the industry that has given me and my family so much,â he said.
One way Moreaux can “give back” to the industry is by serving on LyondellBasell’s recently launched Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Leadership Council.
“I am proud to serve on the DEI Leadership Council, which is responsible for working closely with the LyondellBasell leadership team to shape and execute the DEI strategy,” said Moreaux. “The council is made up of global leaders who represent employees in all of our regions.”
LyondellBasell’s Chocolate Bayou Polymers Plant was built in 1978 and is located in the INEOS complex, 18 miles from Alvin. The facility produces high density polyethylene, which is used to make food packaging, automobile exteriors, retail tote bags, toys, personal care products, and building and roofing materials.
The most recent site expansions include the installation of two regenerative thermal oxidation systems that will reduce VOC emissions by around 200 tons per year.
The plant has a significant economic impact on the region, which includes annual totals for goods and services purchased and employee salaries and benefits.
According to Moreaux, a variety of skills are required to be effective in his position, including technical skills and experience in HS&E, operations and maintenance. However, some “softer skills” are at least as important to him.
“Soft skills that are equally important include having an effective listener, strong emotional intelligence, and an excellent communicator,” he said. “You also need to be succinct, curious, and cooperative while taking responsibility, driving results, cultivating innovation, and creating trust and integrity.”
The Chocolate Bayou plant has a long history of safe operations and has been an OSHA VPP site since 2006. In December 2020, the site reached six years with no reportable incidents. It has been three years since the site had a Process Security Level 2 or higher incident and 12 years since an Environmental Level 2 or higher incident. In 2020 the site received three awards from the Texas Chemical Council: the Distinguished Safety Award, which Dr. Sam Mannan Award for Zero Process Safety Incidents and the Zero Contractor Incident Award. In addition to these awards, the website received AFPM’s Elite Gold Awards for security in 2017, 2019, and 2020.
In 2018 the system received the highest safety award in the industry: the Distinguished Safety Award from AFPM.
âI attribute this success to leadership in this area and the dedication of our employees to protect one another,â said Moreaux. âWe also have a number of security programs that we routinely follow, such as: B. Behavioral observation processes, employee-led safety committees, vital audits, safety tours, process safety protocols and more. “
The site’s biggest security concern continues to be the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Moreaux.
“Our website has successfully prevented the virus from spreading within the site and we are working hard to keep everyone safe,” he said. “The location remains competitive in these challenging market dynamics and the goal is to continue to work safely and reliably.”
The Chocolate Bayou plant strives to be a strong partner for the community, said Moreaux. The site is involved in many local education, welfare, food security and safety initiatives.
These initiatives include supporting the United Way of Brazoria County, the Liverpool Food Pantry, the Liverpool Police Department, the MS150 Bike Ride and the Alvin ISD STEM Bus, among others. The plant is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Chocolate Bayou Community.
I’m looking forward to
In the coming years, his top priority is to continue the site’s GoalZERO performance in the areas of safety, process safety and the environment, said Moreaux.
“I would also like to develop our employees further and have a solid succession plan to support the location with strong executives in all key positions for years to come,” he added.
As an industry leader, LyondellBasell is also actively involved in many important issues and works with industry associations to develop public policy solutions. These advocacy activities are designed to promote LyondellBasell’s business interests and to promote the protection and development of the strong petrochemical and refining industries.
To keep up to date with industry news and trends, Moreaux pays attention to LyondellBasell’s regular internal newsletters and attends regular business meetings of the company. He also receives updates from his work with AFPM and reads a variety of specialist publications such as BIC Magazine and IHS Markit.
“In Texas, we want to raise awareness of key issues and advocate for programs that are important to create jobs and attract new capital to Texas,” said Moreaux. âWe also support targeted funding for the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan programs (which provide the most cost-effective solutions to reduce emissions from mobile sources), the creation of a coastal barrier system for the Gulf Coast, opportunities to improve protocols and processes, ensure safe operations and support a fair and equitable tax policy that encourages economic investment. “