Oil and gas operators in the Rockies region are crypto-mining with what would otherwise be flared gas. Here’s how it works and the monetizing-while-greening opportunity from Cully Cavness, president and co-founder of Crusoe Energy.

Crusoe Energy provides oil and gas companies with a fast, low cost and simple solution to natural gas flaring through the company’s patented digital flare mitigation systems.

“Globally, there is more than five trillion cubic feet of gas flared annually,” Cavness said during Hart Energy’s recently held DUG Bakken and Rockies virtual conference. “And if that gas was captured and converted into electricity, it would be approximately enough electricity to power all of the continent of Africa, where more than one billion people live.”

On the other side of the equitation is data centers, according to Cavness who went on to explain that the global data center fleet consumes more electricity than the economy of Germany, which is the largest industrialized economy in Europe.

“Our insight at Crusoe was on one side of this equation is this very energy intensive user that is looking for lower costs and lower environmental impactful ways to source that energy,” he said of Bitcoin. “On the other side is an industry that is wasting a lot of energy and doing so in a very environmentally harmful or at least inefficient way—flaring is certainly not a perfect process.”

What Crusoe developed is a solution the company calls digital flare mitigation. Cavness said essentially Crusoe deploys modular mobile data centers to the oil field along with power generation systems that operate on rich gas, meaning that the gas does not need to be processed before it can come into the generator. It is essentially wellhead gas, he noted.

“What we do is convert the stranded, flare gas into electricity through those rich firm generators,” he said. “Then we use that electricity to power the modular data centers and then we use the data centers we connect to the outside world with anything from wireless internet using microwave towers, satellite internet and in some cases we build our own fiber optic cables.”