America’s largest oil producer, Exxon Mobil, is reportedly exploring the option of taking its Bitcoin mining pilot program in North Dakota overseas, Bloomberg reports.
In January 2021, Exxon Mobil and Crusoe Energy Systems Inc. created a pilot program to use the energy from excess natural gas from oil wells to fuel rigs for crypto-mining. The program was expanded in July, and uses up to 18 million cubic feet of “stranded gas” otherwise burned off, or flared, due to the lack of pipelines. This amounts to approximately 0.4% of Exxon’s gas in the state of North Dakota.
Exxon Mobil is now potentially bringing the project overseas to countries like Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana and Germany, Bloomberg reports. The project is also being explored in Alaska. It hopes to make unspent energy profitable for the company.
“We continuously evaluate emerging technologies aimed at reducing flaring volumes across our operations,” Exxon spokesperson Sarah Nordin told Bloomberg, rebuffing “rumors and speculations regarding the pilot project.” By 2030, the company is aiming to stop routine flaring.
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This is not the first time that a fossil fuel company has tried to sell surplus energy to Bitcoin miners. In February, the oil company ConocoPhilips was also reported to be in North Dakota to sell stranded gas to Bitcoin miners.
Some in the crypto and blockchain industry consider it a win for both industries: The “potential for miners to reduce the carbon footprint of flared and vented natural gas… is enough to completely offset all emissions or even have a positive net emissions impact,” said CoinShares’ CEO Jean-Marie Mognetti.