networking, selling, education and after-parties, but mostly for the after-parties. Right now at EZ Blockchain, there are heavy projects going on and there’s no way I can just fly to Houston for a conference with less than 1-week notice. But after an hour of checking out some incredible talks from the 2018 Blockchain Oil and Gas conference, my reservations and tickets were booked. I was going to the capital of oil in gas in America, Houston, TX.
Working in blockchain technology for a few years now, I’ve sat through blockchain presentations for all kinds of use cases. In my opinion, when Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency based on blockchain skyrocketed to almost $20,000 per unit 2 years ago, this attracted millions of new investors and suddenly the word “blockchain” was added to every project. Everyone followed. Eventually, when Bitcoin crashed to $3,000, many lost a fortune, but bigger companies like IBM, E&Y, Microsoft kept buying ads from Google and promoting blockchain as if Bitcoin is bad, blockchain is good. So I was curious to learn what the oil and gas industry is trying to accomplish by jumping on this super hyped bandwagon called BLOCKCHAIN.
Top-level speakers...check, convenient venue...check, packed agenda with enough coffee breaks for networking...check My expectations were met. I was impressed to learn about a few use cases and even project updates that are actually in progress with the oil and gas companies.
In recent years, mentioning the word “Blockchain” in a company’s “About Us” section could increase its value by a few hundred percent, without ever building anything. But, it seems in the oil and gas industry it’s only half true. Yeah, I could see a few IT departments added blockchain development as a part of their It is new, it's hot, we will be late, let's do it now technological progress But a good amount of these oil and gas companies actually are solving problems which so far haven’t been economically solved and have found blockchain can really be the answer.
For example, OOC Oil and Gas Blockchain project update in partnership with Chevron presented a real use case in the Joint Operating Agreement voting process via blockchain. An operator requests approval from Working Interest Owners to conduct any operations before they spend any money on a jointly owned property. The voting manual process can take a long time and is the same procedure it was using in the 20th century, physical ballots prepared and mailed by Certified Mail.
Balloting plus blockchain is a perfect mix, a few lines of codes in a smart contract can save hundreds of hours of manual work as well as achieve needed voting expedited results at a reduced time which helps the company to make the next move. Most important, the results recorded on the ledger increase transparency and prevent disputes in the long run. This implementation obviously carries some risks with it such as scaling and adoption but the rewards are overshadowing, blockchain technology will bring transparency, time savings, reduced human errors and easier dispute resolution process. Another project done by the Oil and Gas Blockchain Consortium updated digitized truck ticketing systems on water hauling from wellsite to disposal site based on blockchain partnering with Equinor. By implementing a digitized truck ticketing system on a full scale, Equinor expects to realize 25% total process cost savings
Interesting to note, the oil and gas industry includes various additional blockchain use cases outside of payments in land management, supply chain management, hydrocarbon traceability, commodity trading, intercompany billing and more. Some blockchain applications can help to transform a full business cycle for an oil producer.
When you can see that such big players like Chevron Corporation, Equinor, ConocoPhillips and Hess give it a try to blockchain technology to actually solve a problem within their operations, it inspires and motivates to develop, build and believe in the new technology.
Even though, I was stuck in Hoston because of flooding, I am glad I had an opportunity to enjoy such a wonderful conference packed with insights and like-minded people and I am looking forward to going next year, too.