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A pilot project will be launched in the Middle East by the end of this year or in early 2023.

By Joseph Murphy

Oman's sovereign wealth fund has acquired an equity stake in a US firm that helps oil and gas producers cut flaring by using stranded natural gas to power cryptocurrency mining, Bloomberg reported on June 1.

Oman Investment Authority (OIA) took part in a $350mn equity round that Crusoe Energy Systems held in April. The Denver-based start-up will open an office in Muscat, Oman, and deploy generators and mining equipment for capturing gas at well sites.

The World Bank recently estimated that some 144bn m3 of associated gas was flared globally in 2021. And Africa and the Middle East account for nearly 40% of the total.

"We've always felt it was important for us to have a presence in the MENA region," Crusoe CEO Chase Lochmiller said, according to Bloomberg. "Having the buy-in from nations that are actively trying to solve the flaring issues is what we are looking for."

Crusoe held a workshop in Oman on May 31 with the country's largest producers including OQ SAOC and Petroleum Development Oman. Its first Middle East pilot project will be launched by the end of this year or in early 2023.

While the recent dip in Bitcoin prices "certainly has some impact on our top-line revenue, it doesn't impact any plans for growth and expansion," Lochmiller said.

Oman is a supporter of the World Bank's initiative to end routine gas flaring by 2030. OIA first became an investor in Crusoe early last year, and raised its stake during the April round, the authority told Bloomberg.