Economy

BP, Shell lead blockchain platform for energy trading

A group of trading houses, integrated energy companies and banks have joined forces to create a blockchain-based digital platform that intends to modernize and transform energy commodities trading.

The consortium comprises energy majors BP, Shell and Statoil; trading houses Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria; as well as banks ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale.

Whilst the concept will concentrate on the energy industry to begin with, the idea is that this blockchain-powered platform will soon be open to all industries and it looks set to be operational by 2018.

Mercuria is a Geneva-based commodity trader focused on the energy markets.

The objective of digitizing commodity trading is to save costs as well as time, and to simplify the whole process of trading.

"Ideally, it would help to eliminate any confusion over ownership of a cargo and potentially help to make managing risk more exact if there are accurate timestamps to each part of the trade". However, the support of BP, Royal Dutch Shell and the banks bodes well for the new plan.

In addition to reducing administrative operational risks and physical energy trading costs, the blockchain-based platform will help in improving the reliability and efficiency of back-end trading operations for all supply chain users.

Blockchain is particularly well suited to this goal: the distributed ledger technology can-potentially for now-replace a complex clearing and settlement procedure involving an often-cumbersome amount of papers that need to be distributed among customs officials, cargo agents, and surveyors, and on top of that the carrier of the cargo is required to issue letters of indemnity if these documents are not processed in time.



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