US’s top energy producer ExxonMobil is working on a pilot project to mine Bitcoin in North Dakota. The project was initially launched in late January 2021 and expanded in July. ExxonMobil highlighted that this isn’t about making money. It is part of the oil and gas producers to meet higher environmental demands.
ExxonMobil teamed up with other oil companies in early March to commit to the World Bank’s “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030”. This initiative was introduced in 2015. Exxon is working with Crusoe Energy Systems, a Denver-based company, to reduce CO2-equivalent emissions by about 63%.
In regards to Bitcoin mining work, ExxonMobil is keen on similar projects in Alaska, Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale field, the Qua Iboe Terminal in Nigeria, Germany, and Guyana. The thing with mining cryptocurrencies is that it only requires an internet connection and consumes huge amounts of energy. As such, miners’ primary variable cost is energy. And they are incentivized to find the cheapest sources of power.
Cully Cavness, president of Crusoe, says this is a great way to bring that demand to the wasted energy – solve two problems at once. The problems are the energy appetite of bitcoin and stranded energy. These can be tackled through flare gas. Cavness said they are really moving the needle on flared volumes. He highlighted that more than 10 million cubic feet of gas per day is not flared because they have deployed their systems. The World Bank has recognized Crusoe’s initiative in its Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership report.
Flaring has for decades been used as a way to dispose of excess gas. It is less damaging to the environment than venting. On-site bitcoin mining can be impactful as 100% of methane will be combusted.