US-based oil and gas explorer ConocoPhilips reduces gas flaring emissions through Bitcoin mining

US-based oil and gas explorer ConocoPhilips reduces gas flaring emissions through Bitcoin mining


Globally renowned oil and gas giant, ConocoPhilips is reportedly trying its luck in Bitcoin (BTC) mining with an aim to eliminate the wasteful practise of flaring.

According to a CNBC news report, ConocoPhilips has been running a pilot scheme in the oil-rich region of North Dakota’s Bakken. At the North Dakota facility, the byproduct of oil drilling (popular as flaring) is being sold to a third party Bitcoin mining agency for usage as fuel instead of burning the excess gas.

Discussing the environmental impacts of “routine flaring,” a representative from the oil and gas company has stated that the decision to move into Bitcoin mining reflected ConocoPhilips’ primary objective of reducing and “ultimately eliminating routine flaring” until 2030.

Back in 2021, ConocoPhillips had demonstrated during a presentation that its “ongoing focus” apart from industrial manufacturing is to ensure that gas capture projects are able to achieve zero routine flaring by the year 2025.

Selling the byproducts of oil drills to bitcoin mining firms offers unique potential as well as a profitable solution to counter the damage caused by routine flaring. While oil can be siphoned up and collected at any given location, natural gas harvesting would require a proper pipeline infrastructure. If miners are able to strike gas at any nearby distance from a pipeline, companies would be forced to burn or “flare” the gas, which turns out to be an unprofitable and, more importantly, environmentally harmful procedure.

Instead of letting the gas to waste, Bitcoin miners would instead place shipping containers or trailers containing crypto mining equipment near an oil well for diverting the gas into generators that can power the equipment.

Although ConocoPhillips has not disclosed which Bitcoin miner it has been selling the gas to, or how long the preliminary experiment has been continuing, but the ecological impacts of it give headways for others to follow.

Crusoe Energy, another US-based oil and gas firm, has followed suit and taken advantage of Bitcoin mining to profitably reduce emissions, having approximately 60 data centres and Bitcoin mining units powered by diverted natural gas on their oil fields. 

According to a report obtained from Argus media, Crusoe Energy’s technology has lowered CO2-equivalent emissions by 63 per cent compared with regular routine flaring.

As criticisms against Bitcoin mining is reaching far and wide, miners have become increasingly cautious and have been finding new ways for harnessing more sustainable methods of energy.

The Bitcoin Mining Council had estimated a sustainable energy mix of 58.5 per cent for the international mining industry in the fourth quarter of 2021. 

As an alternative to environmental damage, crypto miners in Norway are also using waste heat for drying out lumber.

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