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Primus Planning Small-Scale GTL Facility Using Marcellus Gas

New Jersey-based Primus Green Energy Inc. said Wednesday it plans to develop a gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant for the Marcellus Shale that is slated to begin operations in 4Q2017.

Primus didn't announce a location for the small-scale, 160 million ton (MT) per day facility, but said it would convert Marcellus Shale feedstock into methanol, which is typically used to manufacture chemicals and as a fuel for specialized vehicles. The company said it could also be used throughout Appalachia for oil and gas production operations.

The company said its technology can use wellhead and pipeline natural gas, along with natural gas liquids (NGL) to make the methanol. Primus, which said it would develop and deliver the modular plant to the region, develops the systems or licenses the technology, but the Marcellus plant would be its first.

Similar small-scale GTL facilities, which have smaller and more efficient equipment, have been announced for the Appalachian Basin, but none have been constructed (seeShale Daily, June 25, 2014). The modular plants are said to be deployed more easily, making them a cost-effective alternative to larger refinery-sized plants.

Once operational, Primus said it plans to add three processing trains at the site that would increase the facility's capacity to 640 MT/d. The company added that it has plans to deliver up to four additional methanol plants throughout North America with 160-640 MT/d capacities.

During a webinar last year to discuss the company’s technology, Vice President of Business Development George Boyajian said residual gas from NGL processing and associated gas from oil production are the two primary feedstocks for the company’s process. 

He identified flared gas in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale and stranded natural gas and ethane in the Marcellus Shale as targets for the company (see Shale Daily, March 6, 2015).

Primus’ proprietary technology, called STG+, combines carbon and hydrogen atoms to make liquids. The company has a commercial-scale demonstration plant at its headquarters in New Jersey. While the plants can be built in various sizes, a standard model already developed uses 5 MMcf/d of gas feedstock to produce 160 MT/d* of methanol.

The plants are constructed remotely and then trucked to a site for assembly. They have a footprint of less than an acre, Boyajian has said (see Shale Daily, June 4, 2014).

*Correction: In this original story, NGI reported erroneously that while the plants can be built in various sizes, a standard model already developed uses 5 MMcf/d of gas feedstock to produce 500 b/d of methanol, when in fact the standard model already developed uses 5 MMcf/d of gas feedstock to produce 160 MT/d of methanol. NGI regrets the error.

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