US energy maker ExxonMobil has launched a pilot program to use surplus gas power to power crypto-mining rigs and could expand to four more countries.
In a report released Thursday, Bloomberg reported that ExxonMobil has signed an agreement with Crusoe Energy to use surplus gas from oil wells in North Dakota to power Bitcoin (BTC) miners. The project is reported to use 18 million cubic feet of natural gas per month – about 0.4% of the oil giant’s reported operations in the state – and produce 158 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.
The company launched a pilot program in January 2021 and is currently considering expansion to Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana and Germany, in addition to launching a similar project in Alaska. In February, Cointelegraph reported that oil and gas giant ConocoPhillips launched a program to sell surplus gas to third-party BTC miners as fuel.
Transportation of natural gas requires pipelines that can not always transport the amount produced safely. Businesses are often forced to ignite or emit excess gas into the air, which ultimately harms the environment and corporate profits.
“It’s about exploiting what would otherwise have been wasted,” said Danielle Fougeri, chair of the As You Sow shareholder group, referring to the energy directed at bitcoin miners.
According to an Argus Media report, from September 2021, Crusoe Energy operated 60 crypto mining data centers in four US states, powered by “gas from oil wells that would otherwise have been burned on site.” Instead of burning gas, redirecting it to crypto-mining reduces CO2-equivalent emissions by “up to 63%”.
Related: No longer stuck? Bitcoin miners can help solve major oil gas problems
Although the Bakken Shale Basin in North Dakota is the main source of natural gas for the United States, Texas is also home to several oil and gas companies, as well as crypto mining companies, which see the state’s energy production potential. For its part, New York lawmakers have proposed suspending mining with evidence of work in response to criticism of environmental concerns.