The world's largest publicly traded oil company, Saudi Aramco, agreed to invest $5 million in a blockchain firm to help it expand access to financial markets.
Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) will join a shareholder base of 12 investors including energy and commodities trading actors to join the firm VAKT that digitalizes global commodities trading industry by using blockchain, according to a VAKT statement on Tuesday.
As part of the deal, SAEV will bring its own trading volumes in the North Sea to VAKT’s market share. With SAEV's investment, VAKT, in return, aims to further develop its trading platform and expansion into new markets, especially into Asia.
VAKT's platform manages physical energy transactions from trade entry to final settlement, and it eliminates paper-based processes, providing a single source for both buyers and sellers, according to the statement.
In the statement, VAKT CFO Richard James acknowledged Aramco's strong track record of investing in industry innovation.
"We were not proactively seeking further investors; however, we could not miss the chance to bring onboard a partner of this caliber, which is a tremendous show of faith in VAKT’s vision," he said.
Saudi Aramco's initial public offering (IPO) was completed on Dec. 5 with a final offer share price of 32 Saudi riyals ($8.53), securing the company’s market value at $1.7 trillion.
A week later, Saudi Aramco saw its market value surpass the $2 trillion mark on its second day of public trading as it shares climbed to 38.7 Saudi riyals ($10.32) on Dec. 12 on the Saudi stock exchange Tadawul.
As of Friday, Aramco's per share stood at 34.15 Saudi riyals ($9.10), giving the company a market capitalization of approximately $1.81 trillion.
By Ovunc Kutlu