US energy company opens crypto mining facility in Middle East to use stranded natural gas

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As the heated up discussion around the ethical aspects of using fossil fuels in crypto mining remains one of the key topics for the industry, an unexpected partnership between a Denver-based mining company and the government of a gas-rich Middle Eastern country sets a horizon for a positive role of crypto in cutting the fossil fuels waste. 

On Wednesday, June 1 Bloomberg reported that Crusoe Energy, an operator repurposing wasted fuel energy to the computational power of crypto mining, would start its work in Oman, a nation that exports 21% of its gas production and seeks to zero gas flaring by 2030.

The American company will open an office in the capital city of Muscat, and install its equipment for capturing gas waste at well sites. It already held a workshop with the Omani largest energy producers, OQ SAOC and Petroleum Development Oman. The first pilot project will be launched by the end of this year or in early 2023, according to Crusoe’s CEO Chase Lochmiller.

Oman’s government interest in the partnership is driven by an aim to cut the country’s gas flaring — burning off the excessive flammable gas in the process of extraction. Together with Algeria, Iraq, Lybia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Oman accounts for 90% of flaring in the Arab region, while the region itself accounts for 38% of global flaring. In 2018, by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia estimate, 10% of all the gas consumption in Oman went for flaring.

Related: Go green or die? Bitcoin miners aim for carbon neutrality by mining near data centers

In an official statement, Lochmiller emphasized his company’s mission to set a presence in the Middle East and Northern Africa to help local governments in their fight with flaring:

“Having the buy-in from nations that are actively trying to solve the flaring issues is what we are looking for.”

In March, media reported that Exxon Mobil partnered with Crusoe to run a pilot project of Bitcoin mining at the Bakken shale basin in North Dakota. However, this information wasn’t confirmed by the companies.

Cointelegraph reached out to Crusoe Energy for additional information, the post will be updated later.

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