One of the planet’s largest energy companies aims to reduce its carbon emissions by partnering with Crusoe Energy Solutions. Equinor will sell electricity generated from waste natural gas to Crusoe who will use it to mine Bitcoin.
Energy companies usually “flare” this excess natural gas, releasing thousands of tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year. With Bitcoin mining performed onsite, Equinor can immediately use the excess gas to generate electricity to power both the mining rigs themselves and their cooling.
Who Said Bitcoin Was Bad for the Environment?
Bitcoin’s energy demands are routinely used to discredit the cryptocurrency. However, we’re increasingly seeing miners looking for ways to reduce their own electricity consumption (and, by extension, operating costs) by tapping excess resources.
The latest example of such a partnership is the above-mentioned deal. Crusoe will buy electricity that Equinor generates using excess gas at its Bakken, North Dakota oil field.
Crusoe will then use the electricity to mine Bitcoin onsite. This will provide a financial incentive for Equinor to generate power from the gas, rather than simply flare it.
Crusoe calls the initiative “digital flare mitigation.” The news comes via an Equinor intranet release cited in a report by Arcane Research.
The company hopes the partnership will significantly reduce routine flaring at the Bakken site. The aim is to eventually satisfy the World Bank’s ‘Zero Routine Flaring by 2030’ initiative. The release states that the site currently emits around 20,000 tons of scope 1 carbon into the atmosphere every year.
Crusoe provides a simple solution to the problem of flaring when drilling for oil and gas, without the energy companies needing to invest heavily in new infrastructure.
Equinor itself is not responsible for the Bitcoin mining. It simply sells the energy to Crusoe who handles all exposure to the crypto assets it mines.
Calling the partnership “natural,” Lionel Ribeiro, a project leader at Equinor, commented on the initiative,
Mining cryptocurrency requires a lot of electricity to power computers, while a valuable commodity is wasted, and carbon emissions are created when we flare. By connecting these inverse pairs, we can satisfy both needs with no cast to market expense.