Data centers used to mine cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin are proving an attractive option to mitigate natural gas flaring in North Dakota, the state’s top oil and gas regulator said Wednesday.

ND production

The energy-intensive process of solving cryptographic puzzles to verify transactions on the distributed network known as the blockchain requires a round-the-clock source of reliable power. Miners have increasingly been turning to gas-fired generating units set up directly on the well pad, using gas production that would otherwise be flared off or shut in by operators.

Director Lynn Helms of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) discussed the trend during a press briefing last Wednesday on North Dakota production and drilling data for August.

Curbing flaring of associated gas tied...