Thursday, May 11, 2017

Onto blockchains and barrels in Houston Town

Greetings dear readers, the Oilholic is back in Houston, the oil and gas capital of the world, with OPEC soundbites from far afield having ensured Brent is back above $50 and on track to end the week higher than where it began. 

Meanwhile here, upstream innovations helping the US oil patch in this era of ‘lower for longer’ oil prices are the talk of the town, but among the digitisation platforms the crude world has started taking to with increased ferocity – the subject of blockchains – keeps propping up.

Don’t worry, yours truly was bit foxed too at the start, wondering what on earth is a blockchain, let alone its platform deployment in an industry thatm let’s face it, lags others in digitisation. 

So in simple terms, a blockchain is akin to a digitally distributed ledger that can be replicated and spread across many nodes in a peer-to-peer network, thereby minimising the need for oversight and governance of a single ledger. 

Each transaction on the ledger is recorded and added to the previous one. These additions result in a growing 'chain' of information. 

At the 2017 Baker & McKenzie Oil & Gas Institute, it was a much discussed subject, albeit included in the wider discussion on digitisation in the sector.

Here’s the Oilholic’s full report on the deliberations for IBTimes UK, which is well worth reading. While nothing is foolproof, there is growing consensus within the industry that blockchain ledgers can help fight fraud and corruption. 

As if that wasn’t enough for you on the subject of ‘crude’ digitisation, Shell’s top lawyer David Brinley also told institute delegates the oil major’s technology hub in Bangalore, India has never been more integral to its business than it is now.

"From automation to 3D printing of project prototypes, to an app on how to locate your car in a car park – Shell would like to be at the forefront of inexorable technological changes we are seeing in the 21st century." 

Away from crude chatter, the Oilholic leaves you with a glimpse of a refreshing pint at The Richmond Arms pub, which tasted even better after yours truly cheered on Manchester United to the UEFA Europa League final. 

If you happen to be in Houston, and need to watch English Premier League clubs in play, or European football (er...called socccer here) there’s no better place to watch in The Galleria area for starters, and in the whole city in some ways too.  

That’s all for the moment from Houston folks! Keep reading, keep it ‘crude’!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2017. Photo 1: Chevron Towers, Downtown Houston. Photo 2: Pint at the Richmond Arms Pub, Houston. Texas, USA. © Gaurav Sharma 2017.


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