Exxon Mobil Corporation is conducting a pilot program using the excess natural gas from North Dakota oil wells that would otherwise be burned to power cryptocurrency mining operations. Sources familiar with the program say the oil giant plans to replicate the project in four other locations around the world.
As part of the pilot program, Exxon signed an agreement with Crusoe Energy Systems Inc. to use gas from a Bakken Shale Basin oil well to power mobile generators used to run Bitcoin mining servers on site.
The pilot program was launched in January 2021, and by July of the same year it had already consumed up to 18 million cubic feet of natural gas that would otherwise have burned due to the lack of sufficient pipelines to transport the gas.
Expansion of the pilot program
Exxon is now considering conducting similar pilot programs in Alaska, the Vaca Muerta shale field in Argentina, Qua Iboe Terminal in Nigeria, Germany and Guyana.
One of the people aware of the information in an interview with Bloomberg said:
“We are continuously evaluating emerging technologies aimed at reducing flaring volume across our operations,” and Exxon expects to meet the World Bank’s call to end routine flaring by 2030, spokeswoman Sarah Nordin said in an email. . She declined to comment on “rumors and speculation about the pilot project.”
Exxon’s push comes amid mounting pressure to let oil and gas producers reduce their carbon footprint to help fight climate change. One of the ways to reduce the carbon footprint is to reduce the amount of natural gas they burn on site.
At the same time, there is an outcry for crypto miners to use the cheap gas from oil wells to power their mining operations instead of drawing power from the national grids. While using the gas to power crypto mining still burns the gas and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, at the very least the energy is used compared to simply burning the gas for nothing.
Last month, ConocoPhilips admitted to supplying a Bitcoin mining company with natural gas from the Bakken shale basin in North Dakota. Shale oil produces a lot of excess gas which is largely burned.