Exxon Mobil – a major multinational oil and gas corporation – is considering leveraging Bitcoin mining to make an even greater profit from excess oil production. The company may take its gas-to-Bitcoin pilot to multiple countries, after already using 18 million cubic feet of gas per month for this purpose.
A Clever Use for Bitcoin Mining
As reported by Bloomberg, Exxon is currently burning excess natural gas from North Dakota oil wells that would otherwise be burned off or flared, due to a pipeline shortage. The company takes gas from an oil pad in Bakken shale basin to power on-site Bitcoin miners as part of an agreement with Crusoe Energy Systems.
The project launched back in January of 2021 and was expanded further in July of that year. Now, America’s largest oil producer is planning to expand operations to Alaska, Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana, and Germany. This is according to sources that chose to remain private, as the information isn’t supposed to be public yet.
“We continuously evaluate emerging technologies aimed at reducing flaring volumes across our operations,” said Exxon spokeswoman Sarah Nordin. However, she refused to comment on rumors about the pilot project.
Bitcoin mining has grown into a full-blown industry built around Bitcoin’s proof of work mechanism. The mechanism requires that users race to solve a highly difficult mathematical problem by spending a tremendous amount of computational energy. The first to solve a problem wins the reward attached to Bitcoin’s next block – equal to 6.25 Bitcoin right now.
The industry has helped provide a profitable use-case for stranded energy resources that otherwise can’t find demand – such as oil wells without enough pipeline infrastructure. It also helps reduce the carbon footprint of companies like Exxon by allowing them to avoid flaring their gas. In fact, the company expects to meet the World Bank’s call for ending flaring by 2030.
Bitcoin Mining VS The Climate
The ability of Bitcoin to reduce oil flare emissions is an argument in favor of its net positive environmental impact on the world. Nevertheless, concerns about Bitcoin’s hurtful effects regarding energy emissions still dominate the current political discourse.
For example, NYC Mayor Eric Adams – who has otherwise supported crypto adoption – still opposes Bitcoin mining on environmental grounds. The EU even tabled a vote to unilaterally ban proof of work mining from the region, though this was reportedly rejected.
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