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April 1, 2020

Seven offshore industry events cancelled due to coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has caused months of cancellations for offshore awards, conventions and networking events, with no clear end in sight.

By Matthew Farmer

The coronavirus pandemic has caused months of cancellations for offshore awards, conventions and networking events.

Several organisations and trade bodies have replaced the cancelled events with webcasts and online content. UK Trade body OGUK is continuing to hold events online, while analyst firm IHS Markit is publishing conversation videos discussing the challenges to the offshore industry at the moment.

Offshore Technology looks at seven key events affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

CERAWeek – Houston, US – 9 March

In the same city, CERAWeek was cancelled on 1 March, eight days before it was due to commence. On 8 March, event organisers IHS Markit published a letter of thanks to the city of Houston in a local newspaper, saying they looked forward to returning in 2021.

The annual event is one of several conferences attracting numerous executives and bringing huge revenues to the city’s economy. As one of the first events in the US to cancel, it worried citizens about what was to come.

The event acts as a mixer for energy executives and government officials, with more than 800 speakers. This year’s event was cancelled, and the next event is planned for 1-5 March 2021.

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Offshore Achievement Awards – Aberdeen, UK – 19 March 2020

The 34th annual award ceremony was due to take place in Aberdeen, the UK home of the North Sea industry. It will reward British offshore workers and companies across nine categories, but not as originally planned.

The organisers postponed the ceremony on 13 March, keeping all table bookings for the new date of 10 September. However, pandemic restrictions may still be in place at that time, the UK government has warned.

International Petrochemical Conference – San Antonio, US – 29-31 March

Several American trade bodies have cancelled all events, with the American Petroleum Institute suspending everything until at least 1 May.

The International Petrochemical Conference is organised by the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) association, which made the same move on 11 March.

AFPM president and CEO Chet Thompson said: “Cancelling the meetings was the only sensible course of action”.

This also meant the cancellation of the trade body’s conferences on security, human resources, operational safety and others.

Middle East Petroleum and Gas Conference – Manama, Bahrain – 30-31 March

Bahraini officials scheduled the Middle East Petroleum and Gas Conference as part of a week of events. They then postponed the conference and events on trading, blending, and refining because of fears of spreading the coronavirus pandemic.

Originally, the conference would hear speakers from Total, ADNOC, Vitol and Samsung. The conference promised to offer insight into the relationship between OPEC, US oil production and Middle Eastern geopolitics.

34th European Gas Regulatory Forum – Madrid, Spain – 29 April

This event, known as the Madrid Forum, is a twice-yearly opportunity for industry companies to meet with EU governments and leaders.

As the EU increases its reliance on gas, this forum has helped the European Commission assess where it should issue guidance. After the 33rd forum, an EU document said it would issue advice on mergers and decarbonisation based on what it learned in Madrid.

Offshore Technology Conference – Houston, US – 4-7 May

“The offshore energy industry’s premier global event” was set for May this year. On 5 March, organisers said: “We are actively monitoring the potential impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus on our activities and currently do not anticipate making any change in plans”. On 13 March, they postponed the conference.

Executives from Siemens, Chevron, and Shell were among 350 presenters due to speak during the conference. More than 2,000 exhibitors and 60,000 attendees will now have to wait until the third quarter of this year.

In December, the triennial World Petroleum Council plans to come to Houston. The event describes itself as “the Olympics of the petroleum industry”, and residents will hope it does not share the same fate as the 2020 Olympics.

Topsides UK 2020 – Aberdeen, UK – 12 May

UK trade body Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) has postponed all events from scheduled for upcoming months, including an event for doctors looking to carry out offshore medical checks.

One of the larger events was the Topsides UK conference, now taking place on 10-11 September instead. At the conference, guests will see presentations on themes including digitalisation and the energy transition.

OGUK is still holding online web talks for young professionals and others, talking about the impact of Covid-19.

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