Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures invests $5M in oil blockchain platform Vakt

The venture arm of the world's most profitable company Saudi Aramco has invested $5 million in blockchain-based oil trading platform Vakt.

Announcing the news on Tuesday, Vakt said Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures is now one of its 12 shareholders. With the fresh capital in place, Vakt plans to expand into new markets – with a particular focus on Asia.

Saudi Aramco has both the world's second-largest proven crude oil reserves and the second-largest daily oil production, according to Wikipedia. Last year, the firm held the world’s biggest initial public offering (IPO) to date - worth $25.6 billion.

Vakt’s platform will now be used by Aramco Trading Company as part of the investment deal. The platform is currently live in the North Sea crude oil market.

“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,” said Hans Middelthon, MD of Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures Europe. “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 major oil firms as its users, including BP, Equinor, Shell and Reliance Industries, among others.

Notably, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures is also an investor in Data Gumbo, a blockchain-as-a-service startup for industrial companies, especially from the oil and gas sector.