2018 IHS World Methanol Conference, Vienna

Talk by Steven Murray, Primus Green Energy CEO

How are Deforestation, Women’s Safety, and Flaring Linked?

Three billion people cook over open fires – with deadly consequences.”1 Every day women and girls all over the world hazard themselves gathering and then burning biosolids for heating and cooking with attendant deforestation. At the same time they often walk under the glare of flaring natural gas. More than 3% of the world’s natural gas is wastefully flared, 30% of wood-fuel harvesting is unsustainable, and 3+ million people die each year due to smoke inhalation from traditional cookstoves. Surely there is a better integrated solution, through a sustainable business model without the need for subsidy. Primus’s technology provides the profitable and safe answer.

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European Petrochemcial Association Conference

Vienna, Austria

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Abu Dhabi Intl Petroleum Exhibition & Conference

Abu Dhabi, UAE

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Greener and leaner solution

There has been much attention and investment in the oil and gas industry in the area of carbon capture and sequestration, but we hear much less about creating value from recovered off-gas – quite simply, money and CO2 that is disappearing into flares from petrochemical plants and refineries throughout the Middle East.

While many plant operators in the region have made enormous strides in flare reduction, converting remaining flared gas into methanol or gasoline can have both economic and environmental returns.

There’s been a significantly greater call to reduce gas flaring and CO2 venting since the United Nations’ 21st COP climate negotiations took place last year, resulting in increased pressure on the refining and chemical industries to cut their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. For example, since the summit, our company has taken inquiries from the Gulf region in particular, where innovative operators at refineries and petrochemical plants are looking for ways to reduce the flaring of their off-gas streams.

We believe that the optimal solution lies in gas-to-liquids (GTL) technologies, which can transform off gas streams, which would otherwise be flared, and CO2 streams that are often vented, into valuable liquid transportation fuels and chemicals, including high-quality gasoline or methanol.

The most well-known GTL technology is Fischer-Tropsch (FT), which is used at very large gas fields, such as Qatar’s massive North Field, to transform natural gas into a slate of end products including diesel and lubricants. But the enormous capital investment required – Shell’s Pearl plant in Qatar cost about $20bn, for instance – makes FT uneconomical for anything but the largest gas fields.

However, there are alternative GTL technologies available that are optimised for small-scale integration within refineries and chemical plants to significantly reduce flaring and venting while allowing for environmental and economic returns. For example, our company took the approach of building modular GTL systems with minimal utility requirements that can be fully met by existing onsite electricity and cooling water systems, keeping the total project cost low. They are built offsite at a fabrication facility and then transported to the refinery or chemical plant site, where they are assembled and then commissioned, keeping construction time and onsite labor costs down by comparison with the traditional stick-built approach. Once in operation, the GTL systems produce high-quality gasoline or methanol from off-gas streams, while also producing a separate stream of hydrogen-rich vent gas that can be used as an additional onsite hydrogen or fuel source.

In a refinery setting, the gasoline represents a unique and valuable addition to the refinery’s blending pool because the production cost is independent from the price of crude oil and the sulfur content is nil. Methanol can be used onsite in many cases, or sold to local methanol users who benefit from reduced transportation costs compared to methanol sourced from distant mega-plants. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions can be further reduced with GTL systems through the input of CO2 streams. Our systems, for example, accept up to 25% CO2 as co-feed which is converted into gasoline or methanol, representing a valuable use for what is typically considered a low-value or even negative-value gas stream.

While we have seen large GTL facilities face hurdles over the last few years, from halting projects to even abandoning them, we recognise the enormous opportunity for small-scale GTL projects to accelerate, even with the narrowing of the difference in oil and gas prices. This is especially true in locations where small-scale GTL plants can be “plug-and-played” at sites where they can utilise the existing infrastructure.

The bottom line is that GTL technologies are an ideal solution for reducing gas flaring and CO2 venting while boosting returns, but it’s only prudent for refineries and chemical facilities to pursue projects that utilise the most efficient GTL technologies available for use in small-scale applications.

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Steven Murray as New CEO at Primus

HILLSBOROUGH, N.J., August. 16, 2017 — Primus Green Energy, Inc., a gas-to-liquids company that converts natural gas and other hydrocarbon feedstocks directly into high quality gasoline or methanol, today announced that Steven Murray, is taking over as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Most recently, Murray was president of a rapidly growing recycling business, Avangard Innovative, disrupting the waste management multi-billion dollar market. He succeeds Sam Golan, former Primus Chief Executive Officer and prior to that Chief Operating Officer, who lead in the development of the commercial demonstration plant. Mr. Golan will remain with Primus as a Director.

“I am thrilled to join Primus during this exciting time with the development of the Marcellus commercial plant and the Alberta plant not far behind. Primus has developed a first class STG+™ technology and I’m excited to be leading the team during the next phase in growth” said Steven Murray, “we have a strong team with a bright future.”

Murray began his career with Shell as a technologist in UK chemical plants. From there, he held increasingly senior positions in sales, marketing and trading in the UK and internationally. He came to the US with Shell in 1994. After a short stint in a strategy role in the Upstream business, Murray started an international trading company that profitably traded crude, refined products and LPG, plus associated paper instruments. Subsequently, he successfully led the turnaround of Shell Energy Services, a company marketing gas and electricity across the US to residential and commercial customers. He returned to Shell Chemicals to lead the Higher Olefins and Derivatives business with a presence in fifty countries and four major manufacturing facilities, primarily in the US and Europe.

He later became President of the largest deregulated retail energy company in North America, Direct Energy Residential in 2010. He subsequently served as COO for all Direct Energy companies in North America. In his time at these companies, he successfully executed a large number of profitable mergers and acquisitions.

Murray gained a first class honors degree in Chemistry from Edinburgh University, Scotland. He was recognized by the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC) and was a Captain in the 10th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment, Territorial Army. He is a member of several not-for-profit boards spanning schools, theater and the USO. He lives in Houston with his wife and three boys.

“Primus is leading in the market for small scale GTL and I thank Sam Golan for his deep contributions in Primus’ success,” said Steven Murray, the new president and chief executive officer of Primus Green Energy.

About Primus Green Energy, Inc. Primus Green Energy, based in Hillsborough, N.J., has developed an innovative alternative fuel technology that economically produces transportation fuels such as high-octane gasoline, and methanol that is cleaner burning with much lower emissions. These fuels are produced directly from natural gas or syngas and other carbon-rich feedstocks. These drop-in fuels can be used directly in engines as a component of standard fuel formulas without costly engine modifications or changes to the fuel delivery infrastructure. Primus’ STG+ technology, which is a proprietary version of proven commercial technologies, has recorded the highest conversion efficiency rate in the industry. Primus Green Energy is backed by Kenon Holdings Ltd, a holding company head-quartered in Singapore. For more information, visit or contact George Boyajian, Chief Commercial Officer, via e-mail at or at 908-281-6000, ext. 136.

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