Oil companies cancel IP Week receptions due to coronavirus

MOSCOW/LONDON (Reuters) - Oil companies are cancelling their receptions at International Petroleum Week (IP Week) in London at the end of this month as concerns over the spread of coronavirus rise, five traders told Reuters on Friday.

IP Week is a key oil traders’ gathering that takes place every year in February. This year, it is scheduled for Feb. 24-27.

“Due to recent global developments concerning the spread of the coronavirus and after careful consideration, we unfortunately had to decide to cancel this year’s lunch,” Vopak said in a message sent to its clients, seen by Reuters.

Bureau Veritas, a leading oil inspection company, also informed its costumers it had canceled its annual IP Week reception.

“Due to the exceptional circumstances related to the coronavirus outbreak all businesses have been instructed by management to cancel our annual client function ... in London. It also seems that some of the other planned IP Week events were canceled yesterday and today,” said a message from Bureau Veritas to its costumers, also seen by Reuters.

Oil company BP BP.L has canceled all its IP Week events as well and instructed staff to avoid attending costumer events, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

BP didn’t respond to a request for a comment. Bureau Veritas representatives were not available to comment. Vopak did not reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Reuters has reported that several oil companies based in Asia have decided to miss IP Week events this year due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Health authorities on Friday reported more than 5,000 new cases of the virus.

Reporting by Olga Yagova and Dmitry Zhdannikov, additional reporting by Ron Bousso, editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter