A group of Bitcoin miners wants to convert abandoned oil mines into crypto mines—creating opportunities for many.
- Orphaned gas wells, former wells used to mine oil and gas from pockets beneath the earth across the U.S., reportedly account for 8.7% of U.S. methane emissions. There are at least 81,000 such wells in the U.S. without recorded owners, Axios reports.
- Satoshi Action Fund is a non-profit crypto advocacy group founded by Dennis Porter in June 2022, and he believes that uniting crypto mining with sealing wells could serve both interests.
- He spoke before a Senate committee on Wednesday, January 25, to allow Bitcoin miners to step in, take responsibility for individual mines, use the remaining resources to power small mining computers, and permanently seal them to reduce methane emissions.
Why It’s Important
Bitcoin mining is infamous for its significantly high power consumption needs. Mining operations often require supercomputers capable of solving highly complex puzzles to generate new Bitcoin, which over time is becoming more complex and harder to access, thus requiring more significant amounts of data processing.
Mining could theoretically continue until the year 2140, but with diminishing returns.
Porter’s idea could solve two problems at once, creating a means for states like Mississippi and Missouri to hand over unoccupied mining facilities to Bitcoin operations on the condition that they will be properly capped after they have tapped what resources they can, allowing them to build crypto rigs that draw less heavily on the power grid.
This would require extensive collaboration with oil and gas regulators to show that Bitcoin miners are prepared to take on the responsibility of real-world mining operations, requiring industrial restrictions and oversight, The Center Square notes.
“Bitcoin mining is a business that doubles as a piece of grid infrastructure. It is particularly good at reducing methane emissions and enhancing green energy projects,” says Porter.
“There are hundreds, maybe thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells in Mississippi. These wells are leaking methane into the atmosphere and potentially into groundwater, causing groundwater contamination. This is a very serious environmental problem that is difficult to solve,” he continues.