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Exxon Mobil Uses Surplus Natural Gas to Mine Crypto: Report

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United States-based energy producer Exxon Mobil has reportedly conducted a pilot program aimed at using the energy from surplus gas to power crypto mining rigs — and may expand its operations to four more countries.

In a Thursday Bloomberg report called Exxon Mobil had contracted with Crusoe Energy to use surplus gas from oil wells in North Dakota to power Bitcoin (Bitcoin) Miners. The project reportedly uses 18 million cubic feet of natural gas per month — about 0.4% of the oil giant’s consumption reported operations in the state and produce 158 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

The company started the pilot program in January 2021 and is now reportedly considering expanding it to Nigeria, Argentina, Guyana and Germany, as well as launching a similar project in Alaska. Cointelegraph reported on this oil and gas giant in February ConocoPhillips ran a program Selling excess gas to third-party BTC miners for fuel.

The transport of natural gas requires pipelines that cannot always safely accommodate the amount extracted. Companies are often forced to incinerate or vent excess gas, ultimately harming the environment and companies’ profit margins.

“It creates use of what would otherwise be wasted,” said Danielle Fugere, president of environmental shareholders’ advocacy group As You Sow, referring to the energy being diverted to bitcoin miners.

According to a report by Argus Media, Crusoe Energy operated 60 crypto-mining data centers in four US states as of September 2021, fueled by “gas from the oil wells that would otherwise be flared on site.” Instead of burning the gas, diverting it to crypto mining reportedly reduces carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions “by up to 63%.”

Related: Not stranded anymore? Bitcoin miners could help solve Big Oil’s gas problem

Although the Bakken Shale Basin in North Dakota is a major source of natural gas for the United States, Texas is also home to many oil and gas companies in addition to crypto miners see the potential for energy production in the state. In contrast, the New York legislature did proposed to suspend proof-of-work mining powered by fossil fuels in response to critics citing environmental concerns.