Gazprom Neft doesn’t plan to mine for cryptocurrencies itself. However, the Russian oil producer is open to sharing its energy resources with crypto miners.
St.Petersburg, January 2 - Neftegaz.RU.
Gazprom Neft is getting into a different kind of exploration. According to CoinDesk
, the company opened a venue for cryptocurrency
mining on one of its oil drilling sites in Siberia, unlocking the power of Russia’s oil and gas resources for the needs of bitcoin mining.
Gazprom Neft is a direct subsidiary of Gazprom and one of the very few government-owned companies in Russia that has openly expressed interest in the crypto mining industry. Earlier this year, CoinDesk reported that Russian Rosatom
is opening up its energy supplies for miners, too.
The venue, located in the Khanty-Mansiysk
region of northwestern Siberia, is using the associated gas from its oil field as an energy source and has its own power plant transforming the gas into electricity.
The CO2 that gets freed during the oil drilling is normally a liability for oil companies as they have to burn it into the atmosphere, which results in fines. However, there are ways to utilize it instead of wasting it, and electricity generation is one of them.
In cryptocurrency mining, one of the greatest costs is for the electricity needed to power the mining rigs. By locating mining operations at oil drilling sites where there’s abundant gas to provide virtually free electricity, both miners and the oil companies benefit. By doing this, Gazprom Neft
is following the lead of the North American companies Upstream Data and Crusoe Energy Systems that are making use of gas at drilling sites in the U.S. and Canada.
Although Gazprom Neft is not planning to mine for crypto itself, a company spokesperson told CoinDesk it’s ready to open its energy resources to miners and has already piloted a small-scale mining operation with the mining firm Vekus this past autumn.
Vekus placed a shipping container housing 150 units of Bitmain’s Antminer S7 ASICs on the site, Gazprom Neft announced via the Russian crypto news outlet Forklog, and in one month the machines mined 1.8 BTC using 49,500 cu m of gas.
Gazprom Neft is planning to expand the mining farm and get more clients’ ASICs, as well as more contractors like Vekus. The company did not disclose how big the future farm will be.