Oil Industry Keeps Champagne Flowing Despite Price Slump


LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Azerbaijan and Algeria have been battered by a slump in oil prices, but their national energy companies will still lay on lavish hospitality next week in London when the industry gathers for its annual string of parties and networking events.

Both countries' state oil companies will be hosting parties at this year's International Petroleum (IP) Week event in London's upscale Mayfair and Knightsbridge districts. As far as the industry is concerned, they cannot afford not to.

While there are set to be harsh spending cuts at home, there is a perception that companies need to keep spending to ensure customer loyalty.

Algeria's Sonatrach's event at the luxury Mandarin Oriental overlooking Hyde Park is an exclusive, invitation-only affair.

The hotel, where a night in a standard double room will set guests back by nearly $800, was where Britain's Queen Elizabeth and her sister learned to dance, according to Britain's Daily Telegraph.

"International meetings are a good opportunity to share thoughts and talk about challenges, especially now as the energy sector is facing problems linked to investment and the oil price drop," said a Sonatrach official, who declined to be named.

The opulence may be jarring for many in Algeria, where the oil price drop led to a 2015 trade deficit of $13.71 billion after a $4.31 billion surplus in 2014.


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