CERAWeek energy forum cancelled over coronavirus concerns

March 2, 2020
The event attracts thousands of delegates including top energy executives and policymakers

CERAWeek, one of the world's largest energy forums held every year in Texas, has been cancelled, due to concerns over the rapid spread of the coronavirus and confirmed cases in the US.

The event, organised by consultancy IHS Markit was scheduled to run from March 9 to 13 in Houston.

Organisers cited the World Health Organisation's new threat level for the virus as well as an increasing number of cases in the US. The US has confirmed cases in New York and the west coast of the country with two deaths. The city of Houston, where the event has been held for 35 years, has no reported cases of the Covid-19 virus.

The event attracts thousands of delegates including senior executives from the energy, technology, finance industries as well as policymakers from across the world.

'The focus of concern was the number of delegates coming to Houston from more than 80 other countries at this particular time of uncertainty,' IHS said in a joint statement with the Mayor of Houston.

'For the same reason, IHS Markit has also cancelled two other international conferences this month scheduled for New Orleans and Long Beach, California,' the statement read.

The Covid-19 virus has already infected 88 people in the US. The US is already in the grip of a season flu outbreak, which has claimed between 18,000 and 46,000 lives over the last five months, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The novel coronavirus, which originated in China has spread rapidly since mid-January to 60 countries, with global death toll topping 3,000 with more than 89,000 cases reported.

The epidemic prompted the cancellation or postponement of large gatherings across various industries around the world as organisers try to stem the virus from spreading further. The virus has disrupted global trade, supply chains, the travel industry and a sell off across stock markets globally.

CERAWeek and IHS Markit said next year's event is scheduled for March 1-5.