U.S sanctions against Russia have played a role in the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the European country, causing oil companies like the giant Gazpromneft to look for new ways to exploit natural resources —this time for cryptocurrency mining.
On June 16, Gazpromneft, a subsidiary of Russian oil and natural gas giant Gazprom, announced a 2-year collaboration agreement with BitRiver, a Swiss Bitcoin mining company, to supply them with energy resources to sustain their cryptocurrency mining operations.
According to information shared by the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the two companies will work together to harness surplus electricity from the carbon dioxide (CO2) released during Gazprom’s oil extraction operations in Russia. This is often a problem for many companies because they must burn it in the atmosphere, but what Gazpromneft is doing could be a better solution.
BitRiver Partners With Russia’s Gazpromneft
Igor Runets, founder and CEO of BitRiver, said that the company intends to eventually build a mining infrastructure in Russia with support from Gazpromneft. The infrastructure would reach up to 2 Gigawatts of electrical power —much larger than the facilities built in Texas by U.S. mining company Riot Blockchain.
“Over the next two years, BitRiver intends to implement projects to create its own data centers for power-intensive computing with power scaling up to 2 [gigawatts], including [petroleum gas], which will additionally provide high and stable power consumption.”
This would be one of BitRiver’s most ambitious projects. BitRiver is the first cryptocurrency mining company to be sanctioned by the United States under the pack of sanctions against Russia. However, a month later, the company issued a statement arguing that the U.S. accusations were “unfounded and false,” saying that the business continued to operate as usual.
An Greener Crypto Mining Operation
For a couple of years now, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining have become a topic of interest for conservationists due to their high energy consumption. However, efforts like this one could end up helping oil companies reduce CO2 emissions.
This is not the first time Gazpromneft has entered the crypto mining market. In late 2020, the company opened a venue for cryptocurrency mining on one of its oil drilling sites in Siberia, Russia; however, at that time, they did not intend to operate the mining farms but to supply electricity to the miners.
On the other hand, according to a CNBC report, the U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil has been working for more than a year on a confidential project to take advantage of Bitcoin mining to get rid of CO2 while simultaneously generating profits for the company.
So maybe initiatives like this could start changing the global view, portraying crypto mining as part of the solution instead of being part of the proble,