Organisers of Offshore Europe have decided to delay the in-person event until next year due to ongoing “health and safety uncertainties”.
The SPE event, Scotland’s largest energy exhibition and conference, had been due to take place at the P&J Live in Aberdeen from the 7-10 September.
But with ongoing uncertainties around mass gatherings, Reed Exhibitions has opted to move the face-to-face event to 1-4 February 2022.
Existing exhibition space bookings for the original event will roll over, organisers have confirmed.
In place of a physical event in September, Reed Exhibitions has promised a virtual conference that will run across the same four days.
Jonathan Heastie, portfolio director – energy & marine at Reed Exhibitions, said: “With September rapidly approaching, many health and safety uncertainties still exist around holding major indoor events of the scale of SPE Offshore Europe.
“The Offshore Europe (OE) Partnership has consulted widely across the industry including operating and service companies, SMEs and industry organisations on options for the 2021 event.
“The overwhelming support is to proceed with the conference programme in a virtual format in September 2021, which will facilitate timely discussion pre-COP26, and to hold the face-to-face event in February 2022.”
Phil Chandler, director, Europe & Caspian events at SPE said: “The September conference will be strongly focused on the energy transition and supporting the industry’s role in delivering net zero.
“With further high-level energy transition content at the face-to-face event in February 2022, SPE Offshore Europe will straddle COP26, providing a unique learning opportunity as strategies, experiences and technologies are shared.”
The virtual conference in September will include an opening ceremony, plenary panel, and keynote and technical sessions. Full programme details will be announced in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, the live event will include an in-person socially distanced exhibition, new energy transition keynote conference content, show floor features including Energy Transition Zone and Theatre, Decommissioning Theatre, a TIDE (talent investment & diversity) programme and networking events.
The decision to delay the physical event comes after the UK Government pushed back ‘freedom day’ until July amid concerns about the Covid-19 delta variant.
In previous years, Offshore Europe has attracted tens of thousands of people to the Granite City, bringing millions of pounds to the local economy.
It’s been a tough week for Reed Exhibitions, which also announced on Monday it had delayed the All-Energy and Dcarbonise conference until next year.
Mr Heastie added: “We are excited to look forward to a live event in February 2022 which will offer greater potential for visitor attendance, networking and international participation.
“We conducted a survey of previous visitors and the results were decisive; by holding the event in Q1 2022, both domestic and international visitor levels would be significantly higher and sufficient to merit holding the face-to-face event next year. Furthermore, all the international pavilions expect to attend in February 2022.”
“We thank all the stakeholders in SPE Offshore Europe for their continuing support to delivering an event that provides maximum value for the industry in these COVID-impacted times.”
Jenny Laing, Labour leader of Aberdeen City Council, lamented the decision to postpone Offshore Europe, but said it was one the local authority supported.
She said: “For almost 50 years Aberdeen has proudly hosted Offshore Europe, a fitting home for one of the energy sector’s flagship events as a European energy capital. The event provides us with a platform to not only showcase our world-leading industry capabilities and projects, but places our city and wider region on the global stage.
“Whilst it is disappointing that the face-to-face element of Offshore Europe 2021 has to be postponed as a result of COVID-19, we support the decision made by the organisers. We will work to make the virtual event a success whilst turning our focus to delivering an exceptional and safe event in February 2022 when Aberdeen will once again be proud to bring the delegates together.”
Chris Walker, head of communications and external affairs at industry regulator the Oil and Gas Authority, said: “Offshore Europe was always going to be different this year and the decision to split the event in two was made with safety and public health considerations at heart.
“With a firm focus on energy transition and industry’s role in supporting net zero, the virtual event in September promises to bring together a stellar line-up of leading industry speakers and a world-class technical programme.
“While nothing in life is guaranteed, the prospect of a safe, well-managed ‘physical’ exhibition next year is something very exciting to look forward to.”