Exxon Mobil, one of the largest publicly-traded oil and gas companies in the world is experimenting with using waste energy for mining crypto.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Exxon is running a pilot program in North Dakota to harness excess natural gas that would have otherwise been burnt off, to power crypto mining operations. The company is reportedly considering expanding the operation to its other sites around the world, as per Bloomberg’s sources.
Oil and gas companies face the problem of inadvertently hitting pockets of natural gas in the earth while drilling for oil. This requires putting the gas in a pipeline in order to deliver it to whoever is willing to pay for it on the other end. However, if there are no nearby gas pipelines, oil drillers have to burn it off or flare it.
Instead of burning the gas away, companies can now divert it into generators which then convert it into electricity that power crypto miners.
While the exact architecture of Exxon’s mining operation is unclear, Bloomberg says Exxon has an agreement with Crusoe Energy Systems Inc. to take gas out of an oil well pad in the Bakken shale basin and use it to power mobile generators used to run Bitcoin miners on site.
The project has apparently been operational since January of 2021 and saw expansion in July. It uses up a whopping 18 million cubic feet of gas per month that would otherwise have been wasted.
The oil giant is considering expanding the pilot program to job sites in Alaska, Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana and Germany.
Spokeswoman Sarah Nordin stated in an email:
“We continuously evaluate emerging technologies aimed at reducing flaring volumes across our operations, and Exxon expects to meet the World Bank’s call to end routine flaring by 2030.”
Though she declined to comment on “rumors and speculations regarding the pilot project.”