Exxon is mining Bitcoin with leftover gas that would have gone to waste

Exxon Mobil was considering similar pilots in Alaska, Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana and Germany.

Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Exxon Mobil is one of the world’s largest fuel producers and has come up with an ingenious solution to tap into its excess natural gas that it used to waste. And it is that the company is taking excess natural gas from North Dakota oil wells, which would otherwise be burned, to use to power cryptocurrency mining operations.

The oil giant has started a pilot project in cooperation with Crusoe Energy Systems Inc. to extract gas from an oil well in the Bakken Basin to power Bitcoin mining servers.

The initiative began in January 2021. The project is estimated to use up to 18 million cubic feet of gas per month that would otherwise have been wasted due to lack of pipelines..

“We continually evaluate emerging technologies aimed at reducing flaring volumes at our operations,” said Exxon Mobil spokeswoman Sarah Nordin, who also added that the firm hopes to meet the World Bank’s call to end gas flaring to 2030.

With oil and gas producers facing increasing public pressure to reduce the carbon emissions associated with their operations, the new pilot project could be welcomed by all.

Of course, this does not reduce the emissions from Exxon Mobil’s activities, but it ensures that greenhouse gas emissions are not simply produced as waste, but would now be the result of the useful activity of mining Bitcoin.

Bitcoin mining is a very energy intensive process that consumes more electricity than even entire countries. Therefore, it could easily be argued that using the gas to drive activity is better than simply wasting it, even if the process still produces emissions.

Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow, an environmental activist group, told Bloomberg that Exxon Mobil’s new initiative is a step in the right direction. “You’re creating a use of something that would otherwise go to waste,” she said. An even better alternative, however, Fugere said, is if the company focuses on ditching fossil fuels.

Exxon Mobil was considering similar pilots in Alaska, Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana and Germany..

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