International Finance

Saudi Aramco buys shares in blockchain oil trading company Vakt

Aramco Vakt

Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company Aramco has bought new shares worth $5 million in blockchain-based oil trading company Vakt, according to media reports.

Vakt is a consortium of leading energy companies such as Aramco, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Equinor, Gunvor, Koch, Mercuria, ABN Amro, ING, Societe Generale, Chevron, Reliance, and Total.

According to media reports, the fund received from Aramco will be used to upgrade Vakt’s platform and plan for expansion in Southeast Asia.

Aramco’s subsidiary and trading company Aramco Trading is also expected to start using Vakt’s blockchain-enabled platform.

Vakt, which launched its trading platform in 2018, provides a smooth process from trade entry to settlement by completely eliminating paper-based processes and manual accounting practices.

Hans Middelthon, managing director of SAEV Europe told the media, “Vakt has demonstrated that their platform has the potential to digitise what is currently a very manual process.”

Interestingly, this is not the first time Aramco is investing in a blockchain company. Previously, Aramco took part in a $6 million funding round for Houston-based blockchain startup Data Gumbo. The investment was made through Aramco’s subsidiary Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures.

Last year, Aramco raised around $25.6 billion in its IPO by listing its shares on the Riyadh Stock Exchange. Aramco IPO broke Alibaba’s record to become the biggest IPO ever.

After its IPO, Aramco became the most valuable listed company in the world, ahead of Apple which is valued at $1.2 trillion. Aramco became the only company to reach the coveted $2 trillion valuation.

The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has targeted the coveted $2 trillion valuation for Saudi Aramco since he first announced Aramco’s plans to sell a small slice of the state-owned company.

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