Exxon Mobil Corp has created a pilot program using excess natural gas that would normally be burned to power Bitcoin mining equipment. They are even considering expanding the mining program to several other sites around the world, according to Bloomberg.
Exxon Mobil has a another company “Crusoe Energy Systems” who also mines Bitcoin (BTC) from excess natural gas to use gas from an oil well, in the Bakken shale basin which will be used to power the Bitcoin mining operations. The extra natural gas would have been flared or burned due to a lack of pipelines. This Bitcoin mining pilot project was launched in January 2021, and grew in July now using up to 18 million cubic feet of gas per month which would have went to waste.
Recently another oil and gas company ConocoPhillips (COP), said its running its piloting its own program to mine Bitcoins also using excess natural gas from a North Dakota Bakken area to provide power for a Bitcoin mining operation. ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil were both founding members of the Oil and Gas Blochchain Consortium (OOC) which was created in 2019. The OOC is a group of energy related companies who want to create “key blockchain standards, frameworks and capabilities” within the energy space. The OOC has several other prominent energy company members including Hess and Chevron.
Exxon spokeswoman Sarah Nordin stated in a recent email “We continuously evaluate emerging technologies aimed at reducing flaring volumes across our operations.” She did however decline to speak about the Bitcoin mining pilot program. The oil and gas industry is under pressure from environmentalists, regulators and investors to lower their carbon footprints to help fight climate change. Burning or flaring gas and oil is a contributor to the carbon footprints for these companies, at the same time there is a rush of Bitcoin miners looking for cheap energy sources to power their crypto mining operations. The gas is still burned, but at least it can be used for a purpose rather then wasted.