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CERAWeek energy conference canceled amid COVID-19 outbreak

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CERAWeek energy conference canceled amid COVID-19 outbreak

Image result for oil and gas rigPhoto: Emerson

CERAWeek—the energy investors and producers conference taking place in Houston—has been cancelled today due to coronavirus (COVID-19) fears.

An annual event, CERAWeek has been a forum for world leaders, ministers, energy producers, industry executives and investors to meet and discuss global energy market dynamics.

The timing of this cancellation comes amidst a volatile global energy market owing to both demand and supply-side effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. At the March 6 OPEC meeting in Vienna, producers reached a deadlock when Russia refused to support deeper production cuts due to the decline in supply driven by the virus’ spread. Now, with OPEC nations agreeing to remove all production limits in response, global crude prices have fallen by 10%. The situation is reminiscent of 2014’s energy price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia; CERAWeek would have been the ideal venue for energy industry leaders to reach consensus.

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The global energy industry, OPEC and other oil-producing nations have all been greatly affected by US shale oil production, which has led the US to become the largest global crude oil producer. Due to slow growth in US domestic consumption and increasing exports, global industry and oil producers have been looking for ways to stay competitive as commodity prices fall and periods of price volatility strike. Without a unified response, OPEC will struggle to set global prices, and price volatility will continue so long as COVID-19 leads to more economic malaise and closures of global industry events.

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