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Norway cancels top oil trade fair as low prices hit industry

[OSLO] Norway has called off a big oil and gas industry fair and exhibition due to cancellations and low registration numbers as companies conserve cash after a slump in commodity prices, organisers said on Tuesday.

ONS Norway - aimed at oil and gas companies whose primary business is in Norway and which normally attracts hundreds of exhibitors - had been scheduled for mid-August.

"Low oil prices, low activity and great uncertainty in the industry have meant that too few exhibitors have registered,"the ONS said in a statement.

"There have also recently been a number of cancellations by companies that are struggling."

Benchmark Brent crude has roughly halved since June last year on growing oversupply and weak demand.

ONS for the global industry - which also takes place in Norway and is held every second year - is still on track to take place in 2016, organisers. It attracted nearly 1,400 exhibitors and over 90,000 visitors in 2014.

Investments in Norway's oil sector will fall by 15.9 per cent this year, more than a previous forecast of 12.5 per cent made in December, the state statistics agency said in its quarterly report last month. Offshore energy investments will contract for four straight years through 2018.

With some of the highest costs and taxes in the world, the drop in crude prices has put a squeeze on the sector and companies have delayed or cancelled new projects and laid off thousands of workers.