BP, Eni deepen blockchain trading in European gas

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LONDON (Reuters) - Oil majors BP and Eni are deepening their foray into blockchain technology, starting to run blockchain trades in parallel with their live trading systems, according to developer BTL Group.

The energy traders, together with Austria’s Wien Energie, had previously tested BTL’s Interbit blockchain platform over 12 weeks, carrying out trades in European natural gas.

For example, the blockchain system found a discrepancy in the volume allocation of a trade of French gas sold by Eni to BP, eradicating a mistake that would have cost time at a later stage, a spokesman for BTL said.

Eni and BP declined to comment.

Originally used to underpin digital currency bitcoin, blockchain is a distributed record of transactions, or other data, maintained by a network of computers on the internet.

“Use of such technology can help by streamlining back office processes, leading to reduced risk, better protection against cyber threats and ultimately significant cost savings,” said Andrew Woosey, partner at consultancy EY which helped oversee the testing phase.

Various commodity traders have started to test blockchain’s electronic transaction-processing system which promises to cutting out middlemen.

But adaptation has been slow in the typically conservative commodity business for fear of losing discretion in dealings and complicating trading.

Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes in Milan; Editing by Keith Weir