London — Canada's BTL -- owner of proprietary blockchain platform Interbit -- said Monday it was moving to the next phase of its European energy trading project in a bid to enable gas trading reconciliation through to settlement and delivery of trades.
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BTL completed a pilot project in June last year with the participation of European energy majors BP and Italy's Eni that involved the building out of an energy trading confirmation solution on the Interbit platform.
In a second phase -- called OneOffice -- BTL hopes to use blockchain to "deliver cost savings across the trade life cycle."
Four majors and five traders are set to take part in OneOffice, including Eni, Total, Gazprom Marketing & Trading, Mercuria, Vattenfall, Petroineos and Freepoint.
"Phase two extends from trade reconciliation to settlement using our Interbit application for the natural gas trade life cycle," BTL CEO Dominic McCann said in a statement.
The trading arm of Italy's Eni was involved in the pilot phase and will also take part in the next stage of BTL's platform development.
"Following our experience during the European energy pilot, we look forward to expanding the scope to enable straight-through processing through the whole settlement process as well as bringing wider participation from the industry," Francesco Romeo, vice president at Eni Trading & Shipping, said.
Transactions on blockchain are done peer-to-peer without a central marketplace, and since transactions are cleared instantaneously using the chosen digital currency, there is no settlement risk.
Catherine Newman, general IT manager at Gazprom Marketing & Trading, said blockchain had the potential to provide cross-industry opportunities to improve the speed, security and efficiency of transactions with the companies' counterparties "at the forefront of technological developments in commodity trading."
"These opportunities can only be realized by working collaboratively with other commodity market participants," Newman said.
"Although it is early stages yet, the [project] with BTL represents an exciting and potentially disruptive prospect in the near future," she said.
Vattenfall's acting head of trading, Frank van Doorn, said blockchain had "great potential to increase automation and efficiency of our trading operation."
"Back office processes for confirmation, settlement and invoicing are ideal use cases for this emerging technology. We expect significant improvements in these processes by utilising BTL's OneOffice," van Doorn said.