The annual Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in the US has become the latest business event casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
OTC 2020, which was due to take place in Houston from May 4-7 has been postponed until later this year.
Hundreds of people from the north and north-east of Scotland make the pilgrimage to Texas every year for the world’s largest offshore oil and gas industry showcase and conference.
Many of them had already booked their flights and accommodation for 2020.
Their travel plans have now been thrown into disarray, on top of any other disruption they are suffering, after OTC organisers said they were pushing May’s event back until the third quarter of this year.
It is also a major headache for Murray Burnett, managing director of Aberdeen business travel specialist Munros Travel.
Mr Burnett said: “We recognise the unprecedented global challenge associated with the current Covid-19 pandemic, and fully support the OTC organising committee in their decision to postpone the event as health and safety comes first.
“Our main priority is the safety and wellbeing of our clients and staff, and the appropriate measures are in place to minimise risk and exposure to both parties.
“Munro’s Travel clients should rest-assured that our team are working tirelessly to resolve the effects of any travel disruption and ensure that appropriate changes are made to your travel itineraries.”
He added: “We continue to monitor the situation carefully and adjust our strategy in line with relevant advice from the government, travel bodies and health bodies and are committed to keeping you informed and notified of any changes directly.”
OTC’s statement announcing its decision said: “The Offshore Technology Conference recognises the unprecedented global challenge associated with the current Covid-19 pandemic.
“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.
“Considering the rapidly changing guidance from governments and companies, OTC has chosen to postpone the conference from May 4-7 to the third quarter of 2020. We are actively working to confirm dates in August or September.”
It added: “In the coming weeks, 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, 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 neighboring communities.
“By postponing rather than canceling OTC, we aim to preserve the significant work of the programme committee and authors to prepare for this conference, as well as minimise the economic impact this decision has on businesses in Houston and throughout the industry.”