A Travellerspoint blog


Another trip around the world.

View Russia Baku on fracmeister's travel map.

This was an exhausting but exciting trip. It was the first really big trip following becoming SPE President and it set the standard for trips to come.

Eastern Regional Meeting, Morgantown, W. Virginia

The first stop was a flight to Pittsburgh and a drive to Morgantown where I addressed SPE members at the Eastern Regional Meeting.

I then drove back to Pittsburgh and flew to Chicago where I caught up with my wife and college roommate. No opera, but we did see Evgeny Kissin with the Chicago Symphony. Kissin is an amazing pianist. Here we are out for a walk.


From Chicago to Hong Kong and then to Denpasar, Bali for the Asia Pacific Oil and Gas Conference (APOCGE). I had a full schedule with multiple small meetings, addressing the Young Professionals Workshop and participating in an Executive Panel Session "Riding the Oil Price Storm." I met with many industry leaders including Datuk Mohd Anuar Taib, Senior Vice President, Upstream Malaysia, PETRONAS. I gave the opening welcome at APOCGE, presented awards, gave the opening remarks at Petrobowl, presented certificates to the Student paper contest participants, gave welcoming remarks at the Education Day for students and teachers, presented tokens of appreciation to Organising Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs, Petrobowl awards, etc,. The conference was a great success with more than 1,000 participants from 44 countries. Just a few pictures.


I have been to Moscow many times before but this was a first with the spousal unit. We flew all night from Bali to Moscow through Singapore and arrived early in the morning. Of course the first time you go to Moscow you have to go to Red Square, see the Kremlin, St. Basil's, etc. and we spent Friday afternoon and the weekend as tourists in earnest. Pictures after I mention what I did on SPE and Baker Hughes business.

I gave the opening Plenary speech at the Russia Petroleum Technology Conference and met with some Rossneft officials. Presented Regional Service awards to a lot of people. Met with Bashneft executives. Went to Gubkin University for a tour and addressing students from four sections including the visiting University of Leoben students. Toured Gubkin and my wife joined me for a very impressive tour of Lomonosv Moscow State University. It was great.

These are the Bolshoi. After its update, it's an amazing site.

Selfie with the Kremlin in the background.

Plenty of churches!

Cruise at night.


In the Kremlin.

Selfie with Lenin


It is astonishing how many very familiar places there are in Moscow for Americans. We have seen it so many times in movies.

Met more executives from Rossneft and Lukoil.

Two operas including one at the Bolshoi. Opera summary later.

Now few SPElfies including shots of Lomonosov.

This guy's name is Genghis Khan. Seriously


St. Petersburg

In Saint Petersburg we spent another weekend and had some serious tourist time. I also met with the St. petersburg SPE section leaders and students from both the Mining University and Saint Petersburg State University.

The Hermitage. So many wonderful churches and museums. Four operas in three separate opera houses (see below).

Spelfies with the students.


Catherine's Palace (the summer home...one of them). Way too many pictures to post.

The Hermitage. CRAWLING with old masters. Michelangelo, Da Vinci. A giant room full of Rembrandts. A huge wing of Dutch masters. It is gigantic.

Saint Petersburg was great. We also had excellent food there. Wonderful and historic. THREE great opera houses.



Last stop! EARLY flight connecting through Moscow and we arrive in historic Baku. I spoke at the student development program and gave lectures at the local student chapters and participated in another reception. I opened the SPE conference with a speech, gave out more awards, met with a few local operators. I had the chance to engage with the students from four countries at the Student Summit and address a large group at the Baku Higher Oil School.


Baku is an amazing city. I was stunned at the architecture and the great history. Awesome.



I thought I would give you either a brief synopsis or some Lessons learned from the Operas I have seen in the last ten days.

Moscow New Opera Romeo and Juliette Charles Gounod
Two teenagers sneak off together, four people die in less than a week. A good cautionary tale.

Moscow Bolshoi Iolantha Tchaikovsky
His last opera. Blind girl tricked into regaining her sight. Still not sure how that worked. Standard boyfriend swap. Short opera so the orchestra started with a 30 minute "Best of the Nutcracker." Still can't get it out of my head.

Saint Petersburg Mariinsky 1 Christmas Eve Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Not like any Christmas Eve I remember. Satan steals the moon. Hero wins the girl with the help of royal footwear. Best part is that there is a beekeeper. Now that is a nice touch.

Saint Petersburg Mariinsky 2 War and Peace Sergei Prokofiev
Natasha makes a bad choice in boyfriends. Russians good, French bad. Napoleon especially bad.

Saint Petersburg Mikhailovsky Queen of Spades Tchaikovsky
Hernan is an idiot. Don't drop the girl and bet all your money on some dream. Don't you know all faro tables are crooked?

Saint Petersburg Mariinsky 1 La forza del destino Verdi
Alvaro learns that when he kills somebody he needs to make sure they are dead. He also needs a serious review on the rules of safe firearm handling. Peasants may not have a great life but boy do they like to sing.

Other Blogs

You can of course read about my barbecue at This site
My Baker Hughes reservoir blog is here.
My (old) blog detailing my 18 months in Hong Kong is here,

Travel this trip (basically includes airport to airport) 27,250 mile. SPE travel to date 237,744 miles.

Countries to date (my counting rule is basically that I spent the night there with some sort of SPE content...not just went through the airport like New Zealand or Panama): 31
Czech Republic
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom (Scotland, England)

Operas this month = 6 Operas to date = 27

Posted by fracmeister 12:24 Archived in Russia

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