Total and Chevron have joined the Vakt blockchain-based trading platform that BP and Shell launched last year, Reuters reports, adding that India’s refining giant Reliance Industries also signed up for the platform.
News of the platform first emerged in 2017 as blockchain continued to gain popularity. The consortium behind Vakt also includes trading houses Gunvor and Mercuria, as well as Koch Supply & Trading. The platform was financially backed by Dutch ABN Amro, ING, and French Societe Generale. The consortium behind Vakt announced the launch of the platform in November last year.
Big Oil has been eager to embrace the digital age now that the financial and efficiency benefits that some solutions can offer have become obvious. Blockchain specifically, despite the hype, has been adopted by a growing number of companies outside the narrow blockchain and cryptocurrency sector in a bid to make various transactions more secure.
“Total has been supporting industry initiatives to digitise cargo post-trade processes for some time,” the French company’s chief of trading and shipping, Thomas Waymel said in a statement cited by Reuters. “We view them as a major step forward towards safer, faster and cheaper logistical operations. We are committed to contribute to the roll out to various markets of the VAKT blockchain platform.”
At the launch of Vakt, the consortium behind it said that initially, the platform will only process contracts for the five crude oil grades sourced from the North Sea that form the Brent international benchmark. At a later stage, it will include U.S. oil pipelines and cargoes of gasoline and other oil products for Northern Europe, which explains Total’s and Chevron’s early entry.
Besides the four Big Oil companies, the consortium behind Vakt also includes Norway’s Equinor and trading giants Mercuria and Gunvor. Soon, the platform will be made available to non-members of the consortium, according to an S&P Global Platts report from November quoting Lyon Hardgrave, VP of business development at Vakt.