COVID-19 outbreak: Chinese speakers, exhibitors to miss Oman energy forum

Underscoring the threat posed by the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak to Oman’s tourism and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry, the organisers of the Sultanate’s premier energy forum — Oman Petroleum & Energy Show (OPES) — have announced that the flagship event take place minus the presence of the Chinese contingent of speakers and exhibitors.
As many as 80 Chinese exhibitors showcasing a range of oilfield products, services and technologies, will not be attending the OPES 2020 event, which is set to take place at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, Muscat, during March 9-11, 2020, a representative of omanexpo, the organisers, said.
“We have taken a decision to cancel the entire Chinese participation (comprising mainly exhibitors),” said Ashley Roberts, acting General Manager and Portfolio Director, Omanexpo. “We have a duty of care to our exhibitors, speakers, delegates and also visitors. We have taken some extra precautions, such as providing additional medical facilities and additional ambulances, as well as hand sanitizers on site’’.
Roberts made the announcement in response to a query from the media about likely impacts from the outbreak to the upcoming event.
An official representing the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) International — who are helping put together the programme content for OPES 2020 — said a handful of Chinese presenters have also decided to pull out of the event of the outbreak.
“Omanexpo and SPE have been monitoring the situation very closely,” said Michelle Boyd, Director, Middle East, Africa and South Asia at SPE International “On the conference side, we have had (nine) cancellations from Chinese speakers themselves. The have passed their presentations on to co-presenters from other regions of the world. So we will be fielding a full conference programme’’.
As many as 250 speakers hailing from 28 different countries will be presenting at the three-day forum.
The novel coronavirus has claimed 1,666 lives to date, while some 68,600 confirmed cases have been reported around the world, chiefly in China where the outbreak first began.