Easwaran Kanason

Co - founder of PetroEdge
Last Updated: January 27, 2017
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Business Trends
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We may live in the 21st century, but the system thatpowers oil trading and shipping in fact, almost all commodity trading stillclings on to its 18th century roots. Today, to ship a cargo of say,Brent crude, from buyer to seller (and possibly a trader in between), thebarrel gets loaded on the boat with a bill of landing stamped by the shipscaptain. That then gets distributed to customs, surveyors,agents, brokers and other officials to be stamped and processed so the cargocan leave on time. Letters of indemnity are issued just in case the documentsarent processed in time, and they often arent. Once the ship docks and thecargos get offloaded, another round of paperwork begins; to say nothing of the reamsof additional paper that await in terminals, depots and distribution centres.Digitisation has helped offload some of the paperwork to computers, but it isstill an archaic process. And one that costs more money than it should.

Swiss commodity trader Mercuria believes that the process could beimproved. Which is why last week, it announced that it was working togetherwith banks, ING and Societe Generale to conduct the first large oil trade basedon a technology on the digital cutting edge, blockchains. Though smallerexperiments have been conducted, this will be the first time a major crude sale a cargo of African crude to ChemChina (which owns a stake in Mercuria) willuse blockchains.

What are blockchains? It is the technology that powers that virtualcurrency bitcoins, hailed as a glimpse of an all-digital future of money.Bitcoins can be used to purchase goods, passing hands with no more than a fewclicks on a computer, eliminating the need for cash and paper. Its gettingmore common than you think, with someprogressive stores in London and New York already accepting bitcoins as paymentfor coffee, meals and products. Blockchains are the paper trail that shadowevery bitcoin. Simply put, a blockchain is a database of records linked toevery bitcoin; a ledger of all transactions and ownerships that have comebefore, with an encrypted timestamp. If you acquire a bitcoin, the blockchainwill be updated to identify you as the new legal owner. Pass that bitcoin on,and the blockchain updates again to reflect that. It is a secure system,designed to be resisted to any modification.


In a hypothetical future, each cargo of crude (or another othercommodity) will have its own individual blockchain. Transfer of ownership andshipping then becomes a simple task of updating the blockchain, say through abarcode scan, which updates a central database for more efficient monitoringand tracking. It could even be used to enforce sanctions or streamlinetaxation; conflict crudes from ISIS could be tracked and denied sale, whileduties collected based on daily blockchain updates.

At least, thats the future that Mercuria envisions, which is why itis testing the system out on a shipment to a shareholder, as an experiment toprove its viability. If successful, it could kickstart a digitisation driveacross the trading industry, with Mercuria estimating cost savings of up to30%. Financial institutions no strangers to archaic procedures themselves are preparing for such a future. But both Mercuria and the banks it is dealingwith agree that the system has to reach critical mass, which is at least 5 -10years away. If it ever does, remember that it happened in January 2017 first.

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Infographic: Oil and Gas Scams & How to avoid them!

Oil and gas sector is one of the most lucrative sectors for job seekers from industries all over the world. It offers great salaries and benefits packages and an opportunity to travel and work overseas. Due to its high demand, scammers are preying on the vulnerable oil and gas workers. To ensure you don’t fall prey to their mischievous tactics, we would recommend reading our guideline below:

How does scamming occur? 

The scammer poses as an employer or recruiter of an oil and gas company or he may claim to be an employee or recruiter for a job consultancy firm catering to the oil and gas industry. They offer irresistible employment opportunities and often demand money in advance to conduct further processes. Money is often demanded on the pretext of work visas, travel expenses, background or credit checks that the job requires.

What do scammers want from you?

 It is important to understand what the scammer's agenda is so that it helps you shield yourself from getting conned:

To extract money: On the pretext of getting you a job in the energy sector employing any of the tactics mentioned above

For identity theft: scammers look for valid identity of people and ask for confidential personal details including bank details to commit fraud through your name or to withdraw money from your account.

Whatever be their modus operandi, their goal is to either separate you from your cash or accomplish an identity theft. The bigger problem is, the scammers are getting better at their game and coming up with innovative ideas to lure innocent job seekers. In oil and gas industry, the scammers are targeting the job seekers from overseas, immigrants or contractors as they feel it is easier to attract them on the pretext of work permits, high salaries, paid travel, better lifestyle in the first world countries.

How to spot a job scam and keep yourself secure?

 There is always a difference between real and fake, all you need to do is be watchful to notice the underlying discrepancies. There is a pattern that scammers usually follows, which is discussed below. Make sure you watch out for these red flags when you receive any job offer next time:

Free email provider - No legitimate hiring agency or company will use the services of free email provider like Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo. So, if you are receiving an email or have been requested to share your details on emails that use free email services, then be extremely cautious. The scammers try to trick the job seekers by using an email address that looks authentic for instance: [email protected]. It is important to notice here that the ‘xyz’ part of the email ID is usually a gmail, yahoo, etc. which is a free email address. A legitimate job provider would never use.

Fake or new company name - If company name or oil and gas recruitment agency name is mentioned along with the free email id, then do a quick search on the company. Verify its existence and contact them via official email address and contact numbers mentioned on the website. Check their social media presence too. If the website and social media page look new while the company claims to be in business for a substantial amount of time, know for sure that there is something fishy.

Bad grammar and confusing job details - The scammers usually do not pay much attention to structure the mail. You can spot grammatical errors and even the job descriptions are not explained well or is completely different than your skillset and experience. Any authentic mail from a company or oil and gas recruitment agency will ensure an error-free, concise, and clear communication

Fee to conduct a job interview - No legitimate oil and gas company or recruitment agency will ever ask for money to conduct a job interview or to apply to job positions. If the mail says, the money will be refunded once you appear for a job interview, then please do not trust such claims as it is always bogus.

Asking for confidential personal information - Anyone asking for information that you will never put on CV, is a warning sign. It includes your bank details, passport copy, identity cards, your current residential details and so on. No genuine company will ever ask for such details before you sign the offer letter. If by chance, you have shared your bank details or another confidential detail to the scammer, contact your bank and email service provider and register a complaint against it.

Unknown source - There are countries who have strict spam rules and until you subscribe or give consent to the company, they cannot send you emails. So, if you receive an email from a company you haven’t contacted or have not applied for jobs, then be cautious it might be a scam.

The principle on which scammers operate is “Too good to be true”.  Don’t entertain any job offer that offers a position, you are not qualified for or offers a salary which is unrealistically high. In the oil and gas sector, be careful not to reveal your passport/work visa details to the scammer. Remember, if you find anything which is way beyond the realistic expectations, then trust your instincts and drop the offer and do not respond.

See our infographic below for a quick summarized glance -


 If you are looking for a job in the Energy sector then sign up today to stay updated with the latest industry news, apply for jobs and network - https://www.nrgedge.net/jobs 

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Asif Mukri
I am Asif Mukri as STOREKEEPER with 3 years of experience i am searching a new opportunity as Warehouse Assistant OR Store Man OR Storekeeper. Please Contact me +919588663322 / +919004351849 Email. [email protected]
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