Analytical Instrumentation

  • How Does the Oil Industry Use Blockchain?

How Does the Oil Industry Use Blockchain?

Mar 08 2018 Read 1313 Times

Every day, oil tankers carrying millions of barrels of crude set sail for ports across the globe. While the cargo alone can be worth over US$100 million, sea captains must also guard the infamous "bill of lading" document under lock and key. For centuries it's been used to verify ownership of a commodity and sanctify business between buyers and sellers.

Giants call for reform that's centuries overdue

Now, some of the world's biggest oil entities are pushing for reform. Along with traders and banks, companies like BP and Shell want to replace the bill of lading system with a faster and more cost-efficient solution. Ultimately, it's part of a ploy to trim costs, maximise profit margins and simplify the transaction process.

“The way we do our title transfers and post trade execution is very heavy on paperwork,” comments Alistair Cross, global head of operations Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. “And the paperwork hasn’t really evolved over the last couple of hundred years.”

From Bitcoin to barrel

One solution has landed firmly in the spotlight, with experts predicting that it could soon replace the system that cargo ships have been relying on for centuries. It's known as blockchain and uses a shared online ledger to track and verify cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

The main draw is the ability to record transactions using encryption, which heightens security and allows each deal to be reviewed by a network of users. While most oil traders already rely on digital technology to store and review their own data, blockchains force buyers and sellers to operate from a communal record book. This champions transparency and eliminates the risk of both routine errors and fraud.

Slashing transaction times

The switch has garnered support from a consortium of producers, with entities like BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil ASA currently in the process of developing a blockchain platform that would be used to record oil trades. The system has already been used to track data associated with a tanker of crude that was sold three times before reaching China National Chemical Corp, its final holder. Verifying the transactions took just 25 minutes, which represents a huge saving from the usual timeframe of around three hours.

“In our business, you have people managing transactions all over the world,” comments Souleima Baddi, an executive at French multinational banking and financial services company, Societe Generale. He asserts that with a blockchain system in place, “people will perform their tasks immediately, directly on their phone or on their iPad where they do their job”.

Want to know more about the latest oil industry tenors? Introducing the latest analytical technique, 'Current Application Trends in the Petroleum Industry Using EDXRF and Process XRT Gauge' champions an approach that's fast, simple and efficient.

Read comments0

Do you like or dislike what you have read? Why not post a comment to tell others / the manufacturer and our Editor what you think. To leave comments please complete the form below. Providing the content is approved, your comment will be on screen in less than 24 hours. Leaving comments on product information and articles can assist with future editorial and article content. Post questions, thoughts or simply whether you like the content.

Digital Edition

Petro Industry News November 2018

November 2018

In This Edition Fuel for Thought - VEGA Grieshaber is a TOP innovator in 2018 - Teledyne Technologies acquire Falcon Analytical Systems - Servomex appoints new VP of sales for the Americas...

View all digital editions


Smart Factory Expo (SFE 2019)

Jan 16 2019 Tokyo, Japan


Jan 16 2019 Dubai, UAE

National Biodiesel Conference + Expo

Jan 21 2019 San Diego, CA, USA


Jan 23 2019 Lagos, Nigeria

Saudi Plastics and Petrochem

Jan 27 2019 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

View all events