This year's Offshore Europe exhibition and conference in Aberdeen is being postponed until next February due to the ongoing disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, although a virtual event will be held this September, the organisers confirmed on Wednesday.

The event had been due to take place this September but Reed Exhibitions and co-organiser The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) said “many health and safety uncertainties still exist around holding major indoor events of the scale” of Offshore Europe.

The face-to-face event will now go ahead from 1 to 4 February 2022 at the P&J Live venue in Aberdeen.

However, a virtual programme — featuring opening ceremony, plenary panel, and keynote and technical sessions — will run from 7 to 10 September 2021.

Full programme details will be announced in the next few weeks.

'Overwhelming support'

Jonathan Heastie, portfolio director of energy & marine at Reed said the organisers consulted widely before reaching their decision.

“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,” he said.

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 the first quarter of 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.”

Support for decision

Leader of Aberdeen City Council, Councillor Jenny Laing, said: “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.”

Existing exhibition space bookings for the September 2021 event will roll over to February 2022, the organisers said.