SIDNEY — On a sun-baked oil pad not too removed from the North Dakota border, the enduring infrastructure of the Bakken oil area towers over pink gravel, pumpjacks pulling energy-packed hydrocarbons from 1000’s of toes deep beneath the Japanese Montana prairie.
A flare stack and multi-story storage containers stand alongside the pad’s perimeter, together with an indication saying the positioning’s proprietor, Houston-based Kraken Oil & Gasoline. On the far facet of the pad, although, a line of metallic buildings arrange by a Colorado startup represents a decidedly nontraditional association for the oil trade. Buzzing turbines wire electrical energy to a handful of squat packing containers that appear like a cross between delivery containers and sizzling canine stands. From beneath awnings, whirring followers blast streams of scorching sizzling air out their sides.
Inside, behind a tangle of energy cords and networking cables, a full wall of every container is filled with high-tech computing tools, highly effective servers chugging away to place pure fuel produced as a byproduct of the pad’s oil manufacturing to make use of on a wholly completely different sort of extraction: mining digital cryptocurrency.
“As a substitute of burning it, we attempt to convey one thing to the positioning so we are able to use it and create one thing helpful,” stated Sidney native Bruce Larsen, Kraken’s president.
Kraken has dug in right here for the oil launched by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the expertise that, together with horizontal drilling, spurred the Bakken oil growth in North Dakota and this stretch of japanese Montana within the late 2000s and early 2010s. Even because the growth has cooled from its peak over the past decade, manufacturing has continued on pads like this one, the place the liquid oil pulled from the earth is piped away, headed towards refineries that convert it to gasoline or plastic. On websites with out a pipeline connection, producers truck liquid oil away in tanks as a substitute.