As IP Week nears more companies cancel social events due to coronavirus

MOSCOW, Feb 21 (Reuters) - A further spate of companies involved in International Petroleum Week in London have cancelled social events at the conference, one of the biggest of the year for oil traders, due to mounting concerns over the threat of coronavirus.

IP Week is a key annual oil traders’ gathering that takes place in February. Oil majors, national oil companies and trading firms host receptions for networking throughout the week, which is scheduled this year for Feb. 24-27.

Trading firm Glencore, Italian refiner Saras and banking group ING are among companies that have cancelled IP Week receptions in recent days due to the virus threat, four sources told Reuters on Friday.

They join cancellations earlier this month by SOCAR, PKN Orlen, BP, Vopak and others.

Glencore, whose party is one of the biggest during IP Week attracting hundreds of visitors, sent a message to clients cancelling the reception “given the continuing concerns and developments regarding the spread of the coronavirus”.

The company however said all other meetings scheduled with Glencore teams would take place as planned.

Saras said in an email to Reuters it had cancelled its reception, while Glencore confirmed the cancellation. ING didn’t immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Organisers have said the week’s main conference sessions as well as other associated industry events would go ahead regardless of the virus.

The coronavirus outbreak in China has not yet reached its peak, state television quoted a top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party as saying on Friday. (Reporting by Olga Yagova in Moscow and Julia Payne in London Editing by David Holmes)