The investment arm of one of the biggest firms in the world by revenue – oil giant Saudi Aramco – has made a $5 million investment in Vakt, a commodities post-trade processing platform based on blockchain tech.
Announced in a press release Tuesday, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) now joins 11 other investors in Vakt. The oil giant also intends to become a user of the Vakt platform via another subsidiary, Aramco Trading Company.
SAEV parent firm Saudi Aramco, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data, is second in daily oil production and the second largest proven oil reserves globally. Saudi Aramco's $25.6 billion initial public offering in 2019 was reported to be the world's biggest to date.
“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, managing director of SAEV 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 is already active in the North Sea crude oil market. The new deal will see Aramco Trading bring its own North Sea trading volumes to the platform, according to the release.
The blockchain-enabled firm said the new investment will assist continued development of its platform, as well as expansion into new markets, with a particular focus on Asia.
"[SAEV] – part of the most profitable business in the world – has a strong track record of investing in industry innovation," VAKT CFO Richard James said. "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."
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