As Vaca Muerta’s project seems to have become active again , we have interviewed Darío Andrés Díaz , mayor of Añelo, a town on the border with the shale . We asked him about the dynamics and needs of this growing town.
Anelo is a quiet and nice place to live although it has a constant social dynamics. Workers come in and out all the time. At the moment, Vaca Muerta has a slow rate of growth and it shows. Unemployment is one of the issues we’re worried about .
What are your expectations about this?
We believe that in the second part of the year 2017 there ‘ll be some kind of recovery, though slow and progressive compared to the time when the deal with Chevron was signed. What was that first expansion like?
The deal YPF- Chevron attracted investments in a short time and that brought about a lot of work as for the drilling equipment and the staff to operate it. It lasted 2 years and a half. We jumped from having two pieces of equipment to forty and there was a moment in which there were 5,000 workers coming in and out of Anelo. It is because of the work and planning we’ve been doing that Anelo has grown up along with its people . Anyway , there were people who came back to their places of origin due to the lack of infrastructure. We’ve been saving some situations.
What’s the role played by the local council in a town with so specific characteristics ?
Our role is to play a part in every situation that might come up , either about services or social problems and try to find a solution to them. Vaca Muerta has brought about real estate investment, more petrol stations, shops, more hotels, etc It’s hard work to articulate everything so that people can be relocated in different sectors. We are constantly in touch with oil and service companies. We are also working very hard in the growth and rearrangement of the industrial park that has been made up in Anelo and we go on with agreements with more than 100 companies with services to settle down here. Nowadays , there are about 40 companies that are already operating from the industrial park.
If Vaca Muerta exploitation becomes active again, as it was last announced by the government, how are you preparing for this ?
As we know that it follows a cyclical pattern , we always work with a 20-year forecast plan because if it doesn’t become active this year, it’ll do the following one. Oil and gas are just down here At some time , they will get their international value back and investments will come to exploit them We have a long-term plan and we’re looking for a financial support to have the necessary infrastructure so that when the moment comes we’ll be ready to go on developing and growing . We keep working as if we had this boom above us . Vaca Muerta is a project that is bound to take off again .