Comodoro Rivadavia

Comodoro Rivadavia
Aerial view of Comodoro Rivadavia

Nickname(s): The Capital of the Wind
Motto: A city with energy.
Comodoro Rivadavia is located in Argentina
Comodoro Rivadavia
Coordinates: 45°51′53″S 67°28′51″W / 45.86472°S 67.48083°W / -45.86472; -67.48083
Country Argentina
Province Chubut
Department Escalante
Founded 1901
 - Mayor Martin Buzzi
 - Total 548.2 km2 (211.7 sq mi)
Elevation 61 m (200 ft)
Population (2010[1])
 - Total 182,631
 - Density 333.1/km2 (862.8/sq mi)
Time zone GMT (UTC-3)
postal code 9000

Comodoro Rivadavia is a city in the Patagonian province of Chubut in southern Argentina, located on the San Jorge Gulf, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, at the foot of the Chenque Hill. Comodoro Rivadavia is the most important city of the San Jorge Basin.

The city is often referred simply as Comodoro. It was at one time the capital of Comodoro Rivadavia Territory, which existed from 1943 to 1955. The territory was a part of Chubut before and after its creation, and the city became the capital of Escalante Department. It had a population of 137,061 as of the 2001 census [INDEC], and grew to 182,631 by the 2010 census.[1]

Comodoro Rivadavia is a commercial and transportation center for the surrounding region, the largest city of Chubut, and an important export point for a leading Argentine petroleum district. A 1,770 km pipeline conveys natural gas from Comodoro Rivadavia to Buenos Aires. The city is modern with the air of an oil-country boomtown.

Founded by decree on February 23, 1901, as a port for the inland settlement of Sarmiento, the first settler was Francisco Pietrobelli. Early settlers included Boers escaping British rule in South Africa, as well as Welsh settlers.

The town was named in honour of shipping minister Martín Rivadavia, a proponent of the development of southern Argentina. It has been prosperous since 1907, when a drilling crew searching for water struck oil at a depth of 539 m.

Oil production has begun to reduce in quantity but the area has been turning its attention to wind power. Windmills on Cerro Chenque and surrounding hills comprise South America's largest wind farm and provide 20% of Comodoro's energy needs.

The city is the home of the main faculty of the National University of Patagonia at San Juan Bosco. The Cathedral is the seat of the Diocese of Comodoro Rivadavia, of which the Bishop is, since 2005, Virginio Domingo Bressanelli. The Cathedral is dedicated to San Juan Bosco, the only cathedral in the world dedicated to the founder of the Salesian Order. It was inaugurated in 1979 although the crypt had been dedicated in 1949.

Rada Tilly is a beach resort and now suburb 12 km south of Comodoro. The National Museum of Petroleum is located in the General Mosconi neighbourhood 3 km north of central Comodoro Rivadavia. It was opened in 1987 by the state-owned oil company YPF, which was later privatized (see Repsol YPF).

Comodoro Rivadavia is served by General Enrique Mosconi International Airport (Airport Code CRD/SAVC) with daily flights to Buenos Aires and many other Patagonian cities, as it is the main hub of LADE.



Commodore Martin Rivadavia

The urgency to define short routes to transport products from Colonia Sarmiento and bring them to that village created the necessity of a port in the area of San Jorge Gulf. This necessity made possible the foundation of Comodoro Rivadavia, today capital of petroleum in Argentina. The first governor of Gobernación Nacional del Chubut was Colonel Jorge Luis Fontana, who traveled around the whole extension attributed to Chubut commanding a numerous group of Welsh immigrants in 1885. American researcher Junius Bird and Finnish geographer Väinö Auer confirmed the existence of a Tehuelche prototype who lived in the sands of Rada Tilly some 9000 years ago. This information was confirmed by Father Brea, who some years ago contributed to this theory with the discovery of utensils and human remains near Rada Tilly.

It is widely known that the Tehuelche who came from the north of Patagonia during warm summer days used to make a halt where Rada Tilly is today. An English marine called Fitz Roy was the first to mention its existence in a navigation chart.

The Huergo Chalet, built in 1919, hosted numerous official gatherings

On March 10, 1889, Francisco Pietrobelli, accompanied by the Tehuelche Sainajo and Marcelo Pereira, came to Rada Tilly following Fitz Roy's navigation charts in search of an anchoring place to set up a deep water port where deep draft ships could stop to supply the flourishing Colonia Sarmiento.

The corvette "La Argentina," commanded by Commodore Martín Rivadavia, arrived near Mount Chenque in an exploratory mission and settled an anchorage place now called Kilometro 5, Caleta Córdova or Punta Borjas. Pietrobelli completed the construction of the first storage shed on June 26 in the place indicated years before by a Molle trunk. Commodore Rivadavia became the first Argentine marine to anchor his corvette in Rada Tilly in March 1891, while he was reconnoiteirng the area to control the displacement of the Chilean Army in the Argentine south. The village was named after the Spanish marine Francisco Everardo Tilly y Paredes, who during 1794 and 1795 gave combat and defeated the Portuguese army in the river Plate. However, reality indicates that it was the Spanish marine Juan de la Concha who anchored in Rada Tilly in command of a brig. The beach village Rada Tilly was founded on July 24, 1948, and today has approximately 7,000 inhabitants.

The settlement just north of Rada Tilly was renamed Comodoro Rivadavia on February 23, 1901 by decree of the national government in homage to the illustrious marine, grandson of the great statesman Bernardino Rivadavia and first Argentine president.

Discovery of oil

In 1903 six hundred Afrikaner families arrived in Argentina following the loss of the Second Boer War. They were given farming land in the lands around Comodoro Rivadavia but due to a shortage of water had to bring water in by ox wagon. The lack of water was a big impediment to the development of the settlement. At the Afrikarner's insitance dilling began in 1907 in an effort to look for water but instead they stuck oil. Although much of the oil was discovered on land given to Afrikaans settlers, they could not benefit directly from the discovery due to Argentinian law which decrees that all mineral deposits belong to the state. Therefore, most of the town's Afrikaans settlers moved on to Sarmiento and surrounding regions to set up farms there.[2]

The discovery of oil in 1907 gave to Comodoro Rivadavia a vertiginous growing rhythm. By the end of 1919, most of the 1719 workers were given accommodation in small metal sheet houses without any heating or electric light with temperatures below zero and winds near 100 km./h. The creation of Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales in 1922 completed and emphasized the development of the town, and by the end of the 50s, the government promoted an oil campaign and fostered the installation of numerous foreign companies. The city evolved around this and even today when this panorama has changed substantially, it is still called the "National Oil Capital."


Comodoro Rivadavia features a semiarid climate. While the city receives less than 250 mm of rain annually, its relatively low evapotranspiration rate causes it to fall under this climate category. Summer is relatively hot and dry. Winter is mild and it's the time of the year when most of the precipitation falls.

Climate data for Comodoro Rivadavia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 24
Average low °C (°F) 14
Precipitation mm (inches) 10


San Juan Bosco Cathedral

Comodoro Rivadavia had a population of 182,631 inhabitants in 2010, compared to 135,632 in 2001 and 124,104 in 1991. The city grew by about a third between 2001 and 2010, compared to an increase of 9.2% between 1991 and 2001; the national average was of around 11% in both periods, representing a notable acceleration in population growth for the city in comparison to Argentina.[1] The city size places Comodoro Rivadavia as the 20th largest city of the country and the largest in South Patagonia, which goes from Chubut to Tierra del Fuego.

Urban Areas

Comodoro Rivadavia is the biggest city located to the south of the Colorado River. The city developed from the oil camps which evolved into neighbourhoods.

The city is divided into three main areas: North Area, South Area and Downtown Area.

The South Area is the most populated in the city. The neighbourhoods are: Jorge Newbery, San Martin, 1311 Viviendas, Cerro Solo, Ñaco, San Cayetano, Francisco Pietrobelli, Las Flores, La Floresta, Máximo Abasolo (where you can find one of the main bus stations of the city).

Moure, Cordón Forestal (where you can find a lot of beautiful fields), Quirno Costa, Maestro Isidro Quiroga, Juan XIII, San Isidro Labrador, 9 de Julio, 13 de Diciembre, Julio A. Roca, (where you can find the prestigious Military School, General Roca), Juan Manuel de Pueyrredon, 30 de Octubre (where you can find the biggest bus station of local lines in the city), LU4 (where you can find the famous Sports Clubs: Huracán and Portugués), Abel Amaya, Industrial (where you can find the most important Oil Companies and Industries), Stella Maris, Ceferino Namuncurá, Jose Fuchs, Balcón del Paraiso (where you have the principal vantage point of the city, in which the view is magnificent), Covipex, Rincón del Diablo, 311 Viviendas and Humberto Beghin.

The Downtown area is where you can find whatever you need. The main street is San Martin Street, where you can find most of the shops, but other important streets are: Rivadavia, 9 de Julio, España, Alem, Chacabuco, Francia, Italia, Ameghino, Hipólito Yrigoyen, Belgrano, Sarmiento, just to name a few. Something unique about the Downtown Area is that it is surrounded by the sea and Chenque Hill.

This Area is divided into: Centro, Loma and Civico neighbourhood. It is incredible the enormous variety of shops and places that you can find in the Downtown Area: The Regional Hospital, health clinics, schools, institutes (music, languages, computers), Coliseo Cinema, Español Movie Theatre (see picture), electronic devices stores, clothes stores, jeweler's shops, DVD rental houses, pharmacies, music shops, bakeries, kiosks, The Local Municipality, The Court House, service stations, libraries, bookshops, tattoo shops, shoe-shops, etc.

The Northern Area is arguably the most beautiful section of the city because of its green and clean spaces, squares and peaceful population.

This area is divided into: - 3rd Kilometre, where you have the neighbourhoods: General Mosconi neighbourhood (where you can find the[Oil Museum, schools, supermarkets, sports club Ingeniero Luis A. Huergo), Ameghino (where you can find the C.A.F.A. football club, shooting house and the Stadium), Saavedra, Nuestra Señora de la Divina Providencia (where you can find the Santa Lucia Rugby Club and the Golf course), San Martin Este and San Martin Oeste.

- 4th Kilometre, where you can find the National University of Patagonia San Juan Bosco.

- 5th Kilometre, where you can find the neighbourhoods: Castelli, Rodriguez Peña, Presidente Ortiz, Usina, Ferrocarril (there is a football field, Ferro Club), Azcuénaga (the USMA football Club, and the Las Orquideas cemetery are located there).

- 6th Kilometre, where the neighbourhoods are Prospero Palazzo (where you find the General Enrique Mosconi International Airport) and Petroleros Privados.

- 8th Kilometre, where you can find the neighbourhoods: Don Bosco, Restinga Ali, Caleta Cordova (a fishing town mainly), Standard North- South- Centre and Gobernador Fontana.

- Other neighbourhoods in the area: Laprida, Güemes, Sarmiento, Manantial Rosales, Ciudadela, Diadema (which is a beautiful area divided into the Church and the School neighbourhoods). The 20th Kilometre ward is also known as the Astra neighborhood for the oil refinery company of the same name.

Panoramic view of the city.


Teatro El Español

You can also visit the old lighthouse located eight kilometres away from the downtown, close to the fishing town of Caleta Córdova. It is quite quaint and mysterious.

If you are interested in races, you can go to the horse tracks located in Rada Tilly Village, and admire the beautiful horses which compete there.

One unique place that you shouldn’t miss is the Windmill Farm, which is really breath-taking and the only one of its kind in South America.

Despite all the cultural and historic spots, Comodoro also offers a wide range of nightlife activities. The places which attract more young and middle-aged people are the pubs and clubs.


Industry and Commerce

The Casino Club Comodoro, part of a growing tourism sector

The commercial and industrial activities of the city are the most important in the region. The main activities of the city are: production of chemical products, elaborated concrete, salter, fabrication of industrial houses, shipyard, metallurgical products, refrigerated products, industrial factories, casting, textile industry, blocks and bricks, and cement. Lately one of the newest and best known economical activities is the Faire of Seafood, also called "Del productor al vecino" (From the Producer to the Neighbour) which was originally an idea of neighbours from the North Zone (mainly Caleta Córdova) of extarcting fresh seafood, processing it and introducing it into the community at a much lower price than big markets. This project had a very good acceptation in the city and it's surroundings, and it's now helped and improved by the local Town Hall as a brand of Comodoro Rivadavia.

Oil Industry

The oil production started in Chubut in 1907, when a drilling rig which was looking for water discovered oil instead. The Argentine oil industry started in Comodoro Rivadavia, and was facilitated by the 1886 National Mining Code (Codigo de Mineria de la Nación). This code established that the oil fields belonged to the State, and that they could also be exploited by the private sector by concession.

In 1922 YPF (Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales), the first state-owned oil company in the world, was created by President Hipólito Yrigoyen's government. This company helped the society by improving the construction of houses, providing new jobs and health care. Engineer Enrique Mosconi was in charge of running the company. By 1933, 1,648 wells had been drilled in Comodoro Rivadavia; 88.9% of them were economically productive.

The PCR petrochemical company, a leading local employer

In 1935 the First Oil Law was passed. It established that the National and provincial States would receive as contribution the 12% of the Gross Product from all oil drilling, which is still in effect.

In 1958, Law Number 14,773 was signed by President Arturo Frondizi, establishing that the Government had exclusive ownership over all oil fields.

The most important oil fields discovered during the 60's were El Huemul and Piedra Clavada. At the beginning of the same decade twenty wells were drilled.

Between 1977 and 1986, 100 million m³ oil were drilled from San Jorge gulf, in the meantime the oil reserves reached 40 million m³; in 1979 the San Jorge gulf production reached 10,124,022 m³ of oil.

Until 2001, 5,300 wells were drilled, of which 3,000 were economically productive. As a result of the exploratory activities developed during the century, the remaining reserves reach 182.017 million m³ of oil. San Jorge gulf is the leader in oil extraction. 46,000 m³ per day are extracted in the zone, representing 46% of total crude oil production in the nation.

Thanks to the oil sector, commercial activity was developed. A big number of foreign people, and from other provinces of Argentina, moved to the city to set up their shops. For this reason Comodoro Rivadavia is considered one of the cities with the highest rate of consumption. This has helped different businesses to develop. This progress is reflected in the downtown: there is a lot of commercial activity, different options in entertainment, restaurants and very busy four-star hotels.

Port of Comodoro Rivadavia

The Port Zone from Chenque Hill

Geographic location

Comodoro Rivadavia is situated in the south of Argentina in the province of Chubut, on the coast of San Jorge Gulf.

It was necessary to create a port in the area of San Jorge Gulf in order to have shorter routes for transporting products from and to the town of Sarmiento, situated 180 km away from the city of Comodoro Rivadavia.

Information for Navigation

Geographic location:

Comodoro Rivadavia: Latitude 45° 51´ S; Longitude 67° 28´ W. Caleta Olivia: Latitude 45° 46´ S; Longitude 67° 22´ W. Caleta Córdova: Latitude 45° 43´ S; Longitude 67°31´ W. Time zone: GMT -3

Nautical information:

Argentine map course: Part 2. Cartography S.H.N. Letters N ° 30.75 H314 and H310.


Average temperatures: Annual 12.7 °C Maximum Average: January 25.5 °C Minimum Average: July 23.1 °C Predominant winds: W, SW Precipitations: Average annual 189 mm. Month of Maximum Precipitations: May Fog: 4 days/year

Foundation and History of the Port

History of Comodoro Rivadavia Port

Since 1908, the small and weak port Maciel received passengers and shipments that arrived at the city of Comodoro Rivadavia. It was built of wood and only could support small ships.

Comodoro Rivadavia needed a port in order to transport and receive shipments especially to the north, because the sea was the only way to do that. The Engineer Enrique Ducos presented a project to gain land from the sea, between Coronel Restinga, situated 3 km away from the port, to the coast close to downtown, where shipsides would be built.

In 1923, the construction of the port started and Engineer Ducos led the works, but he had to deal with a lot of troubles. The most important was the fact that the provincial government didn’t provide enough money to pay workers, so Ducos had to manage the construction with only one group of workers all the year long.

In spite of having lots of obstacles, the dock was finished and it could finally be used for long passenger ships and battleships. This was very much celebrated by the people of Comodoro Rivadavia.

A few years later, the port received around 100.000 people per year. They traveled to Bahía Blanca or Buenos Aires.

On the other hand, the port allowed to transport near 200.000 tons of fruits and other kind of shipments.

In 1926 the construction was stopped, but in 1928 it was resumed. The inhabitants of Comodoro Rivadavia held high hopes and saw the port as a necessary tool for the growth of the city.

In 1934 Maciel Port was finally destroyed, but the construction of the new port had to deal again with lots of problems, because the national authorities did not send the necessary funds to support Ducos’s project.

The role of the port in the tourism sector

Besides being an attractive supply for the international trade and its privileged condition of head of Ocean to Ocean Corridor, it presents advantageous characteristics for the tourist activity.

The Port of Comodoro Rivadavia is in excellent conditions to be inserted in the integrated circuits of worldwide cruises. The port facilities, activities and services are together with tourism essential benefits that contribute to promote a new marine awareness. Besides the port offers recreation and cultural activities.

The reevaluation of the port has derived in an increase of tourist activities. Tourist guide offers, to the inhabitants and tourists, interpretative and explanatory information comprising different axes of information.

Free trade zone

The port project has been complemented with other productive possibilities. The free trade zone has been one of them. It is a special area, free of taxes, that has become an attractive location for productive projects which are focused on exportation.

This subject has been discussed extensively by the local politicians since the last decade of 20th century.

Diversified supplies

The spectacular surroundings of the harbor, together with the geologic and morphologic characteristics of the area, extensive beaches and ample landscape, invite people to develop outdoor activities. Among these attractive activities we can mention: fishing, beach sports, landyachting, sailing, navigation with oar, surfing, speedboat racing and water-skiing.

Tourism is gradually becoming a productive sector. In that respect, a planning of natural and cultural sustainable development of all resources has been elaborated. The port was inserted in that plan as patrimony of the region.

Port Facilities

Comodoro Rivadavia’s port is the most complete port of Patagonia. The transportation of regional commodities, is the most important activity connected with the ocean to ocean corrirdor.

National Route 3 runs along the east coast and the National Road Number 26 connects the city with Chile, to the West. This becomes an important communication line connectig east and west, or the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean and it is made mostly by paved roads.

The ocean to ocean corridor is fundamental for commerce, tourism and passengers circulation. It joins, in less than 600 km and a few hours of traveling, Chacabuco Port in the Pacific Ocean with the Comodoro Rivadavia Port in the Atlantic Ocean.

There is a border pass called “Hito 50” or Paso Huemules (480 meters above sea level) which can be used all year round because it is not affected by the winter snow, due to its lower position.

This route has an enormous relevance because it links communities, integrates and projects two countries promoting the regional growth.

The port has a shipyard in a privileged area. The shipyard has two parallel industrial facilities of 70 meters long and 4 meters wide. This allows the repair and building of ships in a roofed space without the weather affecting the activity.

The shipyard has three travelling cranes of 8 tons each. Works made in the shipyard include the building of eolic mill towers and oil buoys.

The port facilities include:

• The principal Port situated near the downtown. Its extreme point called Punta Borja, was designed to receive ships up to 181 meters length and 10 meters depth.

The port has a pier of 216 meters long, which was built to meet the demand of the transportation of commodities, deep-sea fishing and naval repairs.

• Caleta Cordova's low tide pier is located in the north of Comodoro Rivadavia city, over the coast of Caleta Cordova’s neighborhood. This pier meets the demand of artisan fishing.

• Repsol-YPF's pier, located in the south of General Mosconi neighborhood, is used for unloading fuel. The total fuel unloaded is over 29,000 liters per month.

• Caleta Olivares's facilities are used to load crude oil. It has four mooring buoys and one bell buoy. The depth of this area is 9 meters.

• Caleta Cordova's facilities for loading crude oil include one charge buoy and four mooring buoys. These facilities located 3 miles (4.8 km) away from the coast are used for mooring ships up to 100.000 tons and 11 meters depth.

The Comodoro Rivadavia wind farm

Production of Concrete

The city counts with a factory that produces concrete, property of Petroquimica Comodoro Rivadavia S.A. It produces different types of concrete: Standard Portland, Puzolanic, BCA, ARI, bricklaying concrete Caltex, concrete for oil industry. The total production of concrete for the year 2002 was of 228,000 tons.

Eolic Energy

The wind farm of Comodoro Rivadavia has a capacity of 18,820 kW with 26 generators, and is the most important in Latin America. Plans exist to connection it the national energy, which could allow the sale of energy to other regions.

Illegal Fishing

In order to avoid the increase of illegal fishing of squid in Comodoro Rivadavia's Port, the provincial government and SENASA (government organization that controls food quality) have produced a regulation which organize and control the procedure for international transportation of fish.

The ships with flags different from the Argentinian, are allowed to fish in waters further than the continental platform; and the provincial government allows them to load their shipments, collect them in containers and move them by routes towards other cities where commercial ships will take the squid to export destinations.

It is not allowed to foreign fishers to sell what they have captured neither negotiate with processing plants in the city of Comodoro Rivadavia or any other city in the region, because this might have a negative impact on the local economy.


The most important sports in the city of Comodoro Rivadavia are basketball, football (soccer) and car racing, among others such as land yachting, judo, rugby and athletics.

One of the most representative sports is basketball. Comodoro Rivadavia is the home of the most important basketball team of the region and 2006 National League champion, Gimnasia y Esgrima (Comodoro Rivadavia) also called "The Green Magic". The club it is not only formed by local players, the members are from all over the world. Other important basketball clubs are Nautico and Federacion Deportiva.

Map of a nearby track, Automóvil Club Comodorio Rivadavia

The other important sport is football (soccer). The most popular clubs are CAI (Comisión de Actividades Infantiles), which is ranked in the B National League of football and Huracán de Comodoro Rivadavia, which plays in the Argentine Tournament "B". Both teams have a great number of followers in the city.

Comodoro Rivadavia also has a football league in which many teams participate; the principal teams are Jorge Newbery, Huracán and Petroquímica. There are other clubs such as Tiro Federal, Universitario, Ferroviario, Usma, Tiro Federal and Portugues, which are located in the First A League of Comodoro Rivadavia. Although they are not as prestigious, they are a huge part of the culture and the entertainment of the city. Each of these clubs has their own football court on different neighbourhoods.

Land yachting has become very popular in the city and the beaches of Rada Tilly, together with the windy climate, are ideal to practise the sport. The sport started in Argentina in the 1960s. Rada Tilly Village is the best place in the country to practice this sport, at any time of the year.

This sport consists of a three wheeled car and a sail similar to the one that is used to practice windsurfing. The speed can reach 180 km per hour that is why it’s important to have an excellent ability to manage the car. Pablo Reyes is one of the most important pilots, and he was the first one to get on a car built and designed by himself. The World Championship of Landyachting was held in 2008 in Rada Tilly.


  1. ^ a b c "Censo 2010: Provincia del Chubut por departamento". INDEC. 
  2. ^ Hunt, Ricky (4 February 2011). "The last Boers of Patagonia". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  3. ^—[1]. Retrieved 18 July 2010.

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