Canadian oil and gas company Bengal Energy is dipping its toes into Bitcoin (BTC) mining as a way to harness the untapped energy from its gas wells in the far reaches of the Australian outback.
According to a report from The Australian, Bengal Energy will conduct a pilot program in which about 70 Bitcoin mining rigs will be set up in a portable building — known in the local mining industry as a “donga” — that will be assembled near a series of gas wells that were previously out of service in the Cooper Basin.
According to Bengal Energy’s chief operating officer, Kai Eberspaecher, the company has acquired gas resources from its local oil and gas exploration partners, Santos Energy and Bridgeport Energy.
Eberspacher added that the recently acquired gas resources posed an interesting problem for the power company, because they are so-called “stranded resources”. This means that while the company can technically produce power from the gas on-site, the current distribution lines are too far away to reach.
A pipeline to serve Bengal’s remote gas resources is currently under construction, but development delays have been further exacerbated by Covid-related supply chain problems.
“We were actually looking at six months of having wells ready, but without an outlet. We were dealing with stranded assets.”
Portable Bitcoin mining rigs in dongas were hit as a solution to the problem. A pilot donga will be equipped with 66 mining rigs that can generate about 0.005 BTC per day, which amounts to about $235.
If the trial is successful, Bengal Energy is reportedly trying to multiply its Bitcoin mining output by a factor of 10 to 20 times, meaning total income could be anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 per day.
Related: ExxonMobil Is Using Excess Natural Gas To Power Crypto Mining
Bengal Energy is adding its name to a growing list of mining companies, including ConocoPhilips and Exxon Mobil, looking to harness the full potential of typically wasted or stuck energy through portable Bitcoin mining operations.
In response to widespread criticism of Bitcoin mining for environmental reasons, fossil fuel companies are increasingly looking for new ways to limit the harmful byproducts of mining activities and to use sustainable alternatives where possible.
The Bitcoin Mining Council estimated a 58.5% renewable energy mix for the global industry in the fourth quarter of 2021. Miners in Norway even use waste heat to dry wood.