In a $2.7 billion crude oil industry, verifying ownership of commodities is important for business. The bill of lading is the document that does just that. But unlike other industries that have switched to higher tech for their documentation processes, big oil still uses the pen and paper method, and some oil companies want to change that. To cut costs and up productivity, companies are looking to online ledgers known as Blockchain.
“In our business, you have people managing transactions all over the world,” said Souleïma Baddi, a managing director and Deputy Head of Commodity Trade Finance for Societe Generale in Switzerland. With a blockchain system, “people will perform their tasks immediately—directly on their phone or on their iPad where they do their job—rather than relying on others to collect the necessary paperwork.”
Paper documents are more susceptible to fraud, and traders want to secure transactions in the future. “It will allow traders and everyone within an energy firm or within a bank to spend more time on the work that really matters,” says Anthony van Vliet, ING Group’s Global Head of Trade Commodity Finance.