VC Division of World’s Most Profitable Firm Saudi Aramco Invests $5 Million in Blockchain-based Oil Trading Platform, Vakt

The venture capital division of the most profitable firm in the world, Saudi Aramco, has reportedly invested $5 million in a blockchain-enabled oil trading platform, called Vakt.

Vakt’s management confirmed the news on January 28, noting that Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures is now among its 12 major shareholders. Vakt says it plans to use the funds raised to expand into new markets, with a special focus on offering services to companies in Asia.

Saudi Aramco notably has the second-largest proven crude oil reserves in the world and the second-largest daily oil production. The company recently held the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO), valued at an estimated $25.6 billion.

Vakt’s platform will reportedly be used by Aramco Trading Company as part of the terms of the deal. The firm’s platform is presently live in the North Sea crude oil market.

Hans Middelthon, MD of Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures Europe, stated:

“Vakt has demonstrated that their platform has the potential to digitize 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.”

Vakt has some giant oil companies as its clients, such as BP, Equinor, Shell and Reliance Industries.

Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures has also invested in Data Gumbo, a blockchain-as-a-service company for industrial firms, including the oil and gas sector.

Vakt officially introduced its trading platform in December 2018, and had only served North Sea markets in the beginning. The firm was established in 2017 by a group of industry participants that included Shell and BP, which were reportedly the platform’s first users.

The platform has now managed to onboard more industry leaders, including Chevron, Total and India’s Reliance Industries.

Saudi Aramco has invested in other blockchain initiatives through its VC subsidiary. The company took part in a $6 million round for US-based blockchain firm Data Gumbo Corporation in May of last year.

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