A group of majors and independents, including founding members ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips, on Tuesday announced a partnership to establish the first industry blockchain consortium in the United States.

With several use cases across the industry value chain, the Houston-based consortium, residing under the Offshore Operators Committee (OOC), intends to conduct proofs of concept with this emerging technology in 2019.

“Creating the OOC Oil & Gas Blockchain Consortium is a significant step toward establishing key blockchain standards, frameworks and capabilities for the oil and gas industry,” said Board Chair Rebecca Hofmann of Equinor ASA, a founding member and big U.S. producer.

“Blockchain technology is a catalyst for reimagining the way we do business and this consortium represents a collaborative effort to explore the technology’s potential and leverage learnings to drive industry adoption.”

The board is comprised of founding member representatives that also include U.S.-based Hess Corp. and Pioneer Natural Resources Inc., as well as Spain’s Repsol SA. The board is to oversee funding, ensure operating procedures are maintained and provide project approval.

Blockchain technology uses distributed ledgers, which allow digital assets to be transacted in a real-time, immutable manner. The consortium said its scope would be to:

  • Learn, lead and leverage emerging blockchain technology for the energy industry by evaluating the technology, completing proofs of concept and conducting pilots;
  • Explore the benefits and industry application of blockchain including faster transacting, reduced disputes, improved safety and lower costs;
  • Adopt blockchain through industry standardization of data, processes, security and compliance; and
  • Drive standard setting through industry alignment on key blockchain components, including governance structures, smart contract parameters, consensus protocols and cryptology requirements.

“The consortium is eager to begin building a foundational network of business partners to collaboratively advance use cases within exploration, finance, information technology, land, operations and supply chain, while also leveraging learnings amongst our members,” said Vice Chair JD Franke. Franke worked as a senior consultant for ConocoPhillips in developing the consortium.