Course at YPF, Neuquén, July 2016

Course at YPF office, Neuquén, Argentina, July 25 to 29, 2016

I again travelled to Argentina last week to teach a 5-day course on ‘AVO analysis and seismic inversion’ to YPF geoscientists at Neuquén. It is a small town situated in one of the prosperous provinces of Argentina with the same name, and has received its name from the Neuquén river flowing in that area. As Neuquén province is dependent on mining and oil and gas production, it is gradually becoming famous due to the development and unconventional reserves being exploited in there. The city has an airport and nice shopping areas and offices, some of which I saw in passing each day during my to-and-fro commutes. As I had written in the post covering my last trip to Buenos Aires, it was again a pleasure conducting this course at Neuquén, as I found the participants very eager to receive what I was there to impart to them.

This time again I took my flights from Calgary to Houston, and then an overnight flight (10 hours) from Houston to Buenos Aires. Fortunately, the weather at Houston was nice, with only some sparse clouds in the sky (photo below).


There are two airports in Buenos Aires. Besides the Ezeiza International Airport, there is Aeroparque Jorge Newberry airport located in the northeast of downtown Buenos Aires, by the side of the sea. As I reached there, it was amusing to see some people holding their fishing rods with the baits in the seawater. You can see one individual in action (in the middle of the photo below).


There was a waiting time of 3 hours for my flight to Neuquén and so wandered around at the airport, watching the aircrafts arriving and getting ready for their takeoffs. Anyhow, thereafter it was a smooth flight to Neuquén, albeit it had become evening reaching there.


Mario Sigismondi, a good friend now, was my local YPF contact and coordinator at Neuquén. He had volunteered to pick me up at the airport, and drop me off at the Comahue hotel where I was staying. Mario is an experienced geophysicist, and a very pleasant, polite and warm individual, and it was a pleasure interacting with him.

The next morning I reached the YPF office with Mario, and got underway with my course at their well-equipped mini-auditorium. After about a couple of hours into the course, a wooden-metallic strip came off from the ceiling and hit a participant’s shoulder. Considering this could be a safety issue, the YPF management immediately decided to change the venue to a nearby hotel for the rest of the day.

Argentina is going through their winter season and the day temperatures were going through 4o to 12oC. It remained cloudy and rainy for the first four days, with the sun showing up on Friday at last.

After the first day, the course was arranged at Butaco, a multipurpose space facility (for wedding or party get-togethers, meetings or training courses) that is constructed in the middle of an open area. It is located a little away from the congestion of the main town of Neuquén, and thus close to greenery of the natural environment. Though due to winter many of the trees are seen bare, the evergreen and perennial trees and the well-maintained grassy lawns provided the green look, and the pictures below show the landscape around at Butaco.




Breakfast and buffet-lunch were all well-arranged there, besides the refreshments for the course breaks. The quality of the food was very good and the service was excellent.

I took my return flight from Neuquén to Buenos Aires on Friday evening, and after staying overnight there, took my next flight to Houston the following night (9 pm), on my way back to Calgary. Calgary had a rather monsoon-type downpour the previous evening, and as we closed in there on Sunday afternoon, dense clouds skimming the ground welcomed us. We could see the rainwater logged patches on the ground. Very close to the airport, less water was visible.




Again, I cannot help mentioning that all the YPF participants, as well as other individuals I interacted with were all very warm and hospitable. This I think is a big quality that makes any visitor welcome and comfortable. I loved my trip and the pictures above are there to cherish these memories.

This was my 4th trip in the last three years. I look forward to more such trips.