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Saudi Aramco invests in oil trading blockchain platform VAKT

Jan 29, 2020
3 min read
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Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures,the capital-venture arm of Saudi Aramco, has invested US$5 million in new shares of VAKT, the company re-imagining commodity post-trade processing underpinned by blockchain.

SAEV joins VAKT’s current shareholder base of 12 investors, all among the world’s largest players in energy and commodities trading. The investment will help VAKT with further development of the platform and expansion into new markets – particularly into Asia, the company said in a statement. The deal will also see Aramco Trading become a new user of the VAKT platform, which is currently live in the North Sea BFOET crude oil market. The company will bring its own North Sea trading volumes, adding to VAKT’s already high market share, and is ready for VAKT’s expansion into new markets.

“It is a proud moment to be able to count SAEV as one of our shareholders,” said Richard James, VAKT CFO. “This company – part of the most profitable business in the world – has a strong track record of investing in industry innovation. We were not proactively seeking further investors; however, we could not miss the chance to bring on-board a partner of this calibre, which is a tremendous show of faith in VAKT’s vision.”

Etienne Amic, VAKT CEO added: “The North Sea is just the start for us. In a few short months, we have learnt a great deal from having the platform in production and iterating our product to make it better suited for global waterborne oil. We are now on a path to becoming the backbone of the post-trade processing of physical commodities. We couldn’t ask for a better partner ahead of our future expansion than Saudi Aramco – especially when it comes to the company’s reach and expertise in Asia.”

Hans Middelthon, MD of SAEV Europe said: “VAKT has demonstrated that their platform has the potential to digitise what is currently a very manual process and be truly transformative to end users and customers. Leveraging blockchain theory and applying it to the complicated world of post-trade processing, VAKT has made a compelling pitch to become an integral part of market infrastructure. SAEV’s mission is to develop and deploy technologies into Aramco’s operations.”  

The VAKT platform manages physical energy transactions from trade entry to final settlement, eliminating reconciliation and paper-based processes. Built using blockchain technology, it provides a single source of truth for buyers and sellers that is safeguarded with an immutable, distributed audit trail.

VAKT founders included majors BP, Equinor and Shell, independent traders Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading and Mercuria as well as banks ABN Amro, ING and Société Générale.

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