Gas mining is one of the most lucrative parts of the industry process at a smaller scale, making it an excellent activity for newer players or those with only one or two accounts.
Depending on the gas you mine and what you do with it, your income can exceed 200 million per hour per miner, but there are many qualifiers and optimizations attached to that figure.
In this class we will briefly review probe scanning, then cover how to mine the gas itself, the different types of gas and how to find them, the ships used for gas mining and when to use them, considerations and best practices, and what to do with the gas once you have it.
There is a great guide from Rykki's Gas Guide that is maintained by Nolak in google docs.
Gas Mining and Production
Thank you to Mac Gunderson for this guide! This format is done in a format to run a fleet to teach people about it. Base material thanks to 'GSF's Goonversity' program, thanks to whomever helped with that! Aka J102
Find the sites
Enter the system with the gas site, then warp the class to a safe and give a brief review of probe scanning:
In order to scan you need a Core Probe Launcher and 8x Core Scanner Probes. You should use Sisters Core Scanner Probes, and start with 16 in cargo so the probe launcher automatically reloads.
Warp to a safe, then launch the probes. If you do not have the probe scanner open, open it. Then open the solar system map if not already open.
Using the solar system map, drag the probe formation on top of one of the signatures— just double click the signature to center it in the map, and drag the probes on top of the “X”, then rotate the map to center the probes in 3D, expand to 16 AU, and scan.
Then recenter, reduce by one tick (to 8AU), and scan again.
This is not a probe scanning class so briefly address any issues or questions but direct students to online resources or WTF 201. (ed: Exploration has how to do this.)
If the site is not named “[color] Nebula” or “[something something] Reservoir” then it is a combat site in disguise! These sites with scary-sounding names such as “CHAIN Mindflood Production Facility” or “Blood Raider Chemical Lab” are combat and hacking sites that drop booster-related loot, including booster reaction formulas and blueprints. We will cover this more towards the end.
Once you have identified the gas site:
At its most basic, just warp to the site, burn to a cloud, activate your harvesters, and that’s it!
Tell the class DO NOT START MINING! Certain gas explodes!
However this process can be refined, but we will cover that a bit later.
Gas mining takes a long time compared to other forms of mining, with relatively few button presses. It comes in single, large volume clouds so you will not be depleting asteroids, and takes a while to fill up so you won’t be constantly compressing or dropping off. This has its advantages — like being able to watch Netflix or do homework — and disadvantages as well. Make sure to stay awake at the keyboard!
Additionally, because the sites spawn less reliably and with lower total volume than ore or ice, it is less efficient to scale with more miners. This is why you will rarely see massive 20-man gas mining fleets — but on the other hand, for those of us with only one or two accounts, it means less competition.
Types of gas
Warp the class to the gas site if you have not already. The gas clouds should be labeled “Malachite Cytoserocin.” We will take this opportunity to explain the different types of gas.
If you cannot see the clouds on your overview, switch to a mining overview, or use Alt-Z to show all brackets, click on the cloud in space, then right click -> Add to Overview.
Again, DO NOT START MINING OR YOU MIGHT BLOW UP! There are certain types of gas that explodes when you mine it.
This gas is one of the three types called Cytoserocin.
Cytoserocin is used for the production of non-Synth boosters and larger/T2 ships. Different colors are found in different regions and used for different types of boosters / production materials.
Cytoserocin is found primarily in nullsec and there are specific “hotspot” constellations where it adheres to standard cosmic signature mechanics (meaning, as soon as it is cleared a new one will respawn in the same constellation). You can find these hotspot constellations on the E-Uni wiki (put link in chat). You can also find Cyto in smaller amounts sprinkled throughout nullsec and lowsec, but once cleared they do not reliably respawn.
The reason that students should NOT be mining right now is because Cytoserocin clouds blow up! Just like Mercoxit, at the end of a harvester cycle there is a random chance that the cloud will detonate. Unlike Mercoxit, the detonation deals a single burst of damage (usually EM and Thermal; the specific damage values can be found on the wiki). Also, some Cyto sites have rats to clear first.
Because of the detonation, you need to make sure that your fit will work — show an example of a Cyto Prospect or Venture fit. You can use Pyfa to check your EHP/s against the harvester cycle time and the cloud damage values.
A way to minimize the damage is to make sure the harvesters activate on the same server tick— in order to do this, prime the harvesters by activating them before locking the cloud (so they are flashing in the module rack), then click on the cloud. This will make sure that they both activate at the exact same time, and therefore the random roll for the cloud exploding only happens once per cycle.
The next type of gas is Mykoserocin, found only in lowsec.
Mykoserocin is used in the production of Synth boosters, and in ship production like Cyto. It tends to be more valuable than its Cyto counterpart, but we’ll cover that more later. You can see the rough prices for gas types here: [Fuzzwork link]
Mykoserocin is only found in lowsec, and it does not adhere to standard signature mechanics — once cleared, it does not reliably respawn. This makes it less reliable to find in specific areas so you may have to hunt far and wide for it.
Fortunately, Mykoserocin does not explode when mined, making it “safer” to harvest. However, the fact that it is only found in lowsec — not in safe blue territory — makes it dangerous in a different way. Additionally, because of the (lack of) respawn mechanic, Myko sites are often competitive.
Despite these drawbacks, the clouds in Myko sites are quite large— sometimes large enough that they would take a single Venture with T1 scoops up to 12 hours to clear the whole site. So once you find a site and get mining, the isk will keep flowing in.
Between Cyto and Myko there are two different ways to go about mining gas, both with their own benefits and drawbacks. However there is a third type of gas: Fullerites.
Fullerites are only found in wormholes. They are used primarily in T3 ship production but also some T2/capital.
Fullerites are different from K-space gases in a few different ways.
Not all of the “flavors” are the same size per unit, so keep that in mind when calculating your income because your harvesters work off of M3 per cycle.
The type of site (Minor, Ordinary, Bountiful, Instrumental, etc) depends on the class of wormhole but if you’re just going wormhole-diving to huff gas then that distinction doesn’t matter as much. However, the most valuable flavors (C320 and C540) are only found in high-class wormholes (C4-C6).
Fullerite clouds are very large (like the physical model in space) which we’ll touch on later.
However the most important distinction is the rats. All wormhole gas sites have rats which spawn roughly 15 minutes after a pilot first enters the site. If you warp to a site and there are rats already there, someone else triggered the site already.
If the site is an Ordinary Perimeter Reservoir, DO NOT WARP TO IT in a frigate. The “rats” there are turrets with very high alpha, so they spawn with the site and will one-shot you.
The rats can be cleared with a C3 ratting ship in the case of the lower-tier sites, or a C5 ratting ship in the case of Vital and Instrumental sites. However, there are other ways to deal with the rats which we will cover later.
As you can see we’re all out here in Ventures. They are one of the options for gas huffing ships, so let’s discuss those options.
The first option is the Venture. It uses Gas Scoops (NOT Gas Harvesters) and has a 5,000 m3 mining hold. It also has an innate +2 warp core strength, meaning it requires more than just a single scram to lock down (and with a Warp Core Stabilizer in the low slot, makes you almost uncatchable). This slipperiness along with the extremely low price tag makes the Venture an excellent option for gas mining.
Unlike with ore mining, the Venture is actually a top-tier option for gas mining, even for experienced players.
The “upgrade” from the Venture is the Prospect. It can fit a Covert Ops Cloak, has a 12,500 m3 mining hold, and more slots for fitting. However, it does NOT have the +2 warp core bonus.
The Prospect and the Venture mine gas at the exact same rate — it is only tied to the Mining Frigate skill with the same multiplier. Therefore, the Prospect is only an upgrade for secondary characteristics (fitting slots, cloak, mining hold).
In fact, because it loses the warp core bonus, some hunters find it easier to catch Prospects than Ventures — a single faction scram can lock down a Prospect even with a warp core stabilizer.
That said, the Prospect can fit for a very fast align time and also has a tiny signature radius (improved by training the Expedition Frigate skill) so it takes a long time to lock, giving you more time to escape.
Additionally, the Prospect has the low slots to fit an active armor tank, which is my preferred method for harvesting Cytoserocin (because Cyto deals EM/Thermal damage, which armor is more resistant to).
With T1 scoops, it takes almost an hour to fill up a single Venture (45 minutes with max skills), so if you are using T1 scoops a Prospect may not be worth it. However, with Faction scoops the harvesting is twice as fast, and the cloak/faster align can be useful to keep those expensive modules safe.
There is a third option for gas harvesting, that being Barges and Exhumers. However, the T1 Gas Harvester (for barges) mines slower than the T1 Gas Scoop (for frigates), on top of the barge being a much easier target. With T2 harvesters the barges take a slight lead, but with faction modules the frigates win.
This is because the Syndicate Gas Cloud Scoop is the only faction mining module to have a shorter cycle time in addition to no waste. All other faction mining modules, including the ORE Gas Harvester, mine at the same rate as T2, just with no waste.
A Hulk with T2 or Faction harvesters is the fastest of all gas miners. However, the Hulk is expensive and slow, so although it is technically the fastest, I would advise against using it unless you know what you’re doing.
Especially for newer miners, the Venture is more than sufficient to make you some solid isk.
Additionally, read what the skills do. The Gas Harvesting skill only affects the number of harvesters you can fit, so you only need to train it to level 2 to use T1 scoops on a Venture optimally. The only further training needed on that skill is to train to 5 for T2/faction scoops.
In the past, people would mine gas with something like a Gnosis, making use of the ability to use up to five scoops. However, the Venture’s role bonus means that a Venture with two scoops mines the same as another ship with five, so that old method is now obsolete.
Finally, when fitting your ship, keep in mind that gas mining does not have a low slot module associated with it, unlike ore or ice mining. This means that your low slots can be exclusively dedicated to keeping yourself alive.
So let’s cover some specific techniques and best practices.
Firstly, how you go about finding sites. Although you can fit a probe launcher on a Venture, it has no bonuses for scanning, and you cannot fit one on a Prospect if you have a cloak. Therefore, it is often more effective to use a scanning ship to go out and find sites, bookmark them, and then come back in your mining ship.
This also allows you to make a perch at the site so you can use the perch to warp between the clouds for efficiency and safety. I also like to bookmark the individual clouds so I can warp straight to them.
However, if you are mining in a wormhole, do NOT do this in a scanning ship, because this will start the timer.
Some Cytoserocin sites are deadspaced, meaning you cannot warp to bookmarks and will always end up at the site warp-in.
Some Fullerite clouds are large enough that you can warp to a bookmark on one cloud, then move yourself around a bit so that the bookmark for the next cloud in the site is more than 150km away, allowing you to warp to it once the first cloud is cleared.
Additionally, you want to be as close to the center of the cloud as possible. This is because the cloud will decloak anyone that might be hunting you.
If you are on grid with the cloud and warp to it using the overview, you will end up at the edge of the cloud. If you bookmark the cloud and warp to the bookmark, you will end up at the center.
Fullerite clouds spawn close to the warp-in, meaning you can mine them from the warp-in location (whereas K-space clouds are about 30km away). Therefore, warping to the bookmark will position you further from the warp-in for safety. Don’t get complacent.
An alternative technique is to orbit the cloud, and as a hunter, this can make it difficult to get in position because the miner is constantly moving. However, I do not recommend this, because your orbit will take you into the hunter eventually, and the fact that you are moving can increase your align time depending on where you are warping to escape.
The exception to this is for Cytoserocin, because its explosion acts like a missile — if you are moving you will take less damage.
There is a specific technique you can use to huff wormhole gas called Ninja Huffing. This is a very secret technique shrouded in mystery.
All you have to do is warp to the site and start huffing… and then when the rats spawn, you warp away!
In all seriousness, if you are day-tripping (and especially if you find a wormhole with multiple gas sites in it) this is a very reliable and safe way to huff wormhole gas.
This requires the site to be un-triggered, so that is why you don’t want to warp to the site in your scanning ship to bookmark the clouds if you know you will be doing this.
There is an alternative technique called Jedi Huffing which involves speed-tanking the rats on specific sites where they do not have webs or neuts. However, this is an advanced technique so I will simply link a couple of resources if you want to try it for yourself. [link]
If you are in a fleet you may want to consider compression. This is not necessarily a bad idea because gas is quite bulky to transport. However, unlike all other compression, gas compression is lossy.
Technically it’s the decompression that’s lossy. Either way, compressed gas loses about 10% of its value. Training the Gas Decompression skill can mitigate this effect, but it never gets down to 0% loss.
I have gas, now what?
We have talked a lot about how to get the gas, but what do you actually do with it? To wrap up the class we will talk about getting your payday.
The first and most straightforward option is just to sell the gas. As gas mining is a relatively niche activity and difficult to scale, many producers will just buy their gas, so there will always be a market for the raw material.
Make sure you check the markets because prices vary significantly. Mykoserocin tends to be the most valuable because it is risky to obtain and used in larger quanties, compared to Cyto or Fullerites which can be gathered by the local residents in relative safety. However this is not always true, and gas prices fluctuate a lot especially between flavors of Fullerites.
In general, Mykoserocin = C320/C540 > Other Fullerites > Cytoserocin
The second option is to make components. Mykoserocin and Cytoserocin make up specific higher-tier production components, such as Neuralinks. Mining gas and making these components can be a profitable endeavor.
This is not an advanced industry class so we won’t get too much into things but if you look up the gas in the search window then click Industry you can see what it is used for.
In a similar vein, you can also use the gas to make Tech 3 ships or production materials. Tech 3 ships are almost exclusively composed of Fullerites. There are some additional hoops to jump through for blueprints compared to T2, and there are some other materials required, but the bulk of the material cost comes in the form of Fullerite gas.
However, my preferred method is to make boosters.
All boosters require at least one reaction and then blueprint production at the end. Not all refineries in Delve support the specific type of reaction needed (Biochemical), so make sure to check your structure and use the GEZ spreadsheet.
Most boosters are made using Cytoserocin. Standard boosters use one type of gas, while Improved and Strong involves reacting and mixing multiple types of gas together.
Synth boosters, which have a greatly reduced effect but also no negative effects, are made using Mykoserocin.
Make sure to check the markets for the specific type of booster you want to make. Some Synth boosters are more expensive than their Standard (or even Improved) variants, and for others it is the reverse.
The most difficult part about booster production (in my opinion) is acquiring blueprints. Unlike all other forms of production, booster blueprints only drop from those combat sites I mentioned earlier. (So do the reaction formulas, but reaction formulas have unlimited runs and can be purchased on the market so acquiring them is easier.) Also, booster blueprints are only BPCs— there are no BPOs.
All varieties of booster blueprints come from these combat sites (although you could just get them on contract in Jita if you want). There may also be another, simpler source of some of these blueprints… but I leave that to you to discover.
Booster production has several upsides for those who want to squeeze more isk from their gas.
It is a simple production chain, requiring no reprocessing and few production stages (Synth and Standard is one reaction then one production)
It is almost always profitable— for example, last I checked Synth Mindflood went for about 2.4 million and the equivalent amount of gas was about 1.9 million
Boosters are incredibly small so they can be shipped easily (industrial quantities will still run you the minimum rate for ITL)
In general, the jobs don’t take long for the amount of isk you make — the main bottleneck is the gas
Anyways that’s about it for the class; go out there and make yourself some isk
Just be careful, because although many PvE activities are “solved,” gas mining is inherently risky due to other players
Pinging fleet to alliance
This is for FCs to paste to help out, this is the method Goons use, can use this to help your new players go do gas mining.