A largest oil and gas conference which draws tens of thousands of visitors each year from around the world, including India, has been postponed in Houston due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the organisers have announced. The organisers of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), the largest Oil and gas conference in Houston, announced that the event has been postponed to the third quarter of 2020. The group is working to confirm new dates for the event in August or September, according to a statement the event organisers.
"By postponing rather than cancelling OTC, we aim to preserve the significant work of the programme committee and authors to prepare for this conference, as well as minimize the economic impact this decision will have on the businesses in Houston and throughout the industry," the statement added.
The conference, which drew about 60,000 attendees last year, was set to take place May 4 to 7 at NRG Center in Houston. The OTC announcement cited the "rapidly changing guidance from governments and companies" as a reason for moving the event from May to later in the year.
"The Offshore Technology Conference recognises the unprecedented global challenge associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic," the announcement states. "The health and safety of our partners, attendees, exhibitors, staff and community are of the utmost importance, and our hearts go out to all who have been affected."
In the coming weeks, the OTC will be communicating with authors, speakers, exhibitors, and partners to develop the new plans and ensure the conference continues to provide a platform for energy professionals to meet and exchange ideas.
Since 1969, the OTC has been a reliable source of technology and knowledge sharing to propel the offshore industry forward. The conference has also been a key economic driver for the city of Houston and neighbouring communities.
The OTC is a series of conferences and exhibitions, focused on the exchanging technical knowledge relevant to the development of offshore energy resources, primarily oil and natural gas.
As the coronavirus outbreak grew, companies started limiting employees' travel, and events that attracted people from all over the world had been discouraged. One of the first such events to be cancelled in Houston was CERAWeek, another high-profile energy event that attracts about 5,500 delegates from over 80 countries along with more than 840 speakers.
Countless events that bring significant groups of people together are being cancelled as health officials encourage social distancing and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Sunday limiting gatherings of more than 50 people for next 8 weeks.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo — which recorded a total attendance of about 2.5 million people over 21 days in 2019 — was cancelled on March 11 when Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced he was issuing an emergency health declaration for the city.