Wednesday May 8, 2019 5:07 PM
2 weeks 2 days ago
In a handful of oil fields in the Great White North, natural gas, an otherwise wasted drilling by-product, is being put to work. But it’s not being used to well more oil; it’s being used to mine bitcoin.“Bitcoin’s a great arbitrage mechanism for these companies. Anywhere you go, oil and gas producers are having issues,” Steve Barbour, founder of Canadian company Upstream Data, told Bitcoin Magazine.Upstream Data’s “ohmm” mining skids, as they are called, help these companies transform these issues into monetary solutions. By taking otherwise idle natural gas and using it to mine bitcoin, this modern day alchemy is more than just an arbitrage mechanism or an alternate stream of revenue for these oil companies; in Barbour’s native Canada, it allows them to stay regulatory compliant, while also reducing the environmental impact their operations would normally produce.From Waste to WorkStranded gas — an industry term for the natural gas by-product that oil drilling produces but which can’t be used — accounts for somewhere between 40-60 percent of all the world’s proven gas reserves. In the United States alone in 2013, oil companies vented (released directly into the air) or flared (burned off) some 122 billion cubic feet of stranded natural gas. That’s enough to power every home in Chicago for an entire year.This gas is not wasted wantonly; rather, there is simply a lack of utility for it and solutions to harness it. Some compan...