According to a recent report, ExxonMobil, an international oil and gas company, is operating a pilot cryptocurrency mining program using excess natural gas from North Dakota oil wells.
ExxonMobil and Crusoe Energy Systems Inc. have reportedly reached an agreement to take oil from a North Dakota well site to supply on-site power for crypto mining hardware. The assets will be powered by the proof of work (PoW), consensus mechanism Bitcoin, and the current version of Ethereum.
Gas flaring refers to the burning of natural gas derived from oil extraction. ExxonMobil plans to use the gas for Bitcoin mining instead of burning it as a product of oil extraction.
Bloomberg reported that people who are familiar with the subject asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
According to reports, the oil and gas company is also considering pilot programs in the U.S. states of Alaska, Nigeria and Argentina as well as Guyana and Germany.
ExxonMobile spokesperson Sarah Nordin stated that “we continuously evaluate emerging technologies in order to reduce flaring volumes across all our operations.” Bloomberg.
She declined to comment on speculations and rumors regarding the mining project.
The industry’s negative impact on the environment has caused controversy around cryptocurrency mining, particularly Bitcoin mining.
Cambridge University estimates that the Bitcoin network uses an astonishing 134-terawatt hour of electricity each year. This number also shows that the network consumes much more electricity than other countries.
A terawatthour (TWh), is the unit used to calculate how much electricity a country consumes each year.
The source of the energy used to generate this energy is a key factor in determining the carbon footprint and the environmental impact. This topic has been a subject of much debate within the crypto industry.
Cambridge University discovered that 39% of Bitcoin’s network was powered by renewable energy. Rest of the network was powered with environmentally hazardous fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.
These figures were used by Decrypt to determine that the Bitcoin network’s carbon emissions are roughly equivalent to more than 60 billion pounds of coal and 9 million homes’ annual electricity consumption. This is also roughly equivalent to 138 billion miles driven per passenger vehicle.
Others have also claimed that Bitcoin’s network runs on a greater percentage of renewable energy. The Bitcoin Mining Council published a study that claimed 56% of Bitcoin’s electricity came from “sustainable” sources in July 2021.
The council, however, cited its own analysis and left the meaning of “sustainable” open to interpretation. It also did not provide any energy breakdowns for the study.
The council collected only survey data from miners who represented 32% of Bitcoin’s global havehpower at the time. Miners with less-than-green energy mixes were allowed to skip the survey.