Turbine for Nord Stream 2 should not fall under Western sanctions
A photo: GLOBAL LOOK PRESS
GOT THE GAS
It would seem that there may be some misunderstandings at the level of giant corporations. Even the replacement of a simple screw in the most complex mechanism is described by hundreds of pages of contracts, where the rights and obligations of the parties are laid out in detail. What can we say about the turbine for the gas pipeline.
It turned out not.
Mysterious things are happening with the Siemens turbine for the Nord Stream gas pipeline. She was already standing at our Portovaya station, working regularly to the delight of the Germans, and then went to Canada for scheduled repairs. That’s when the turmoil began.
At first, she was stuck there because of the sanctions imposed against Russia. Then Gazprom was forced to cut gas supplies. In response, threats and accusations poured in from Europe that Russia was using gas as a weapon of pressure. But the Germans somehow agreed with the Canadians and they nevertheless brought the turbine … To Germany, where Chancellor Olaf Scholz even examined it and issued an expert opinion: the turbine is ready for use, you can install and pump it. Like, the sanctions have been lifted, Canada, Germany, the European Union and almost the Pope himself are allowing…
Only Gazprom is in no hurry to take it away.
Behind all these disputes Europe receives less gas. Instead of 167 million cubic meters per day, the German side sees on their sensors a miserable 33 million cubic meters. That is, now the gas pipeline operates at only 20% of its capacity.
THE MATTER OF TECHNOLOGY
So what’s the reason? The Russian concern is putting pressure on the letter of the contract (read – the law), which the Canadians, together with the Germans, have already violated. And now they don’t quite understand how to get out of this situation.
He explains his actions as follows: “In the absence of official clarifications from the EU and the UK on the application of sanctions, it is not clear that the repair and transportation of gas turbine engines for the Portovaya CS will not be subject to export restrictions,” the company said.
Behind the refined language of press releases and official letters, it still remains unclear why this turbine has not yet been loaded onto an aircraft in order to be brought to Russia and finally turn on the pipe at full capacity. For clarification, KP.RU turned to expert of the oil and gas information agency, candidate of technical sciences Alexander Khurshudov:
– To put it quite simply, Gazprom wants guarantees, documentary evidence that the turbine does not fall under anti-Russian sanctions.
– Technically, it can be disabled remotely from Germany?
– Yes, it is possible, but the consequences are difficult to predict. If such an opportunity is laid in the control automation, then the loss of reputation for Siemens will be huge. So the main problem is elsewhere.
– In what?
– Under an agreement with Siemens, Russia shipped this turbine directly to Canada, to their subsidiary. Along with it was a defective list of 15 items. In Canada, it was supposed to be repaired and Russian specialists were called in to accept the work. Ours were supposed to check everything there and, together with the Canadians, ship the turbine already to Russia.
But the Canadian authorities did not make any exceptions from the sanctions. And the Canadian daughter of Siemens could not follow the procedure prescribed in the contract. That’s when she sent the turbine to Germany – this is not prohibited by sanctions. What should ours do? Acceptance in Germany is not by contract. It is also clearly spelled out: “Where they repaired, take it there.” What will be the use of our going to Germany? The German Siemens will not answer our questions – it was not they who did it, but a subsidiary company.
Now Germany wants to get rid of the turbine. Well, let’s say she comes to Russia, they install her, but she doesn’t work. What to do? There is no one to complain to. Because the order of acceptance prescribed in the contract is violated.
Both from a technical and a legal point of view, ours are doing it very right that without acceptance they do not give consent for its shipment to Russia.
EUROPE IS ARGUING
Gazprom wants guarantees, explains leading expert of the National Energy Security Fund and the Financial University under the Government of Russia Stanislav Mitrokhovich.
– What is the West trying to achieve?
– The dispute over the Gazprom turbine is one of the cogs in the big game against Russia. The Western world is globally trying to defeat Russia in the economic war, and no one hides this. As for the situation with the turbine itself, there is a split in Europe in general. Germany says that Russia now needs to accept this turbine, launch Nord Stream at a higher capacity than it currently operates. But at the same time, there are voices inside Europe from Poland, from the Baltic States, who propose to ban the purchase of Russian gas and include it in the new sanctions package. So there is discord in Europe.
– How are those who want to completely abandon Russian gas going to live?
– They hope that it will be possible to buy from their neighbors, they hope that some kind of LNG will come to them (liquefied natural gas – ed.), they hope for help from the European Commission … They hope for everything.
– Maybe it’s just beautiful words?
– This also makes sense. Saying they don’t want to buy Russian gas is not the same as actually giving it up completely. But it sounds good. In any case, they will remain on our gas. The same Poland will still take it from Germany or other neighboring countries. But we, for our part, hear publicly: “Your gas will soon be banned.” Well, well, your wish is realized.
GUARANTEE ON THE TABLE
– What is Gazprom trying to achieve?
– To give us clear guarantees that in the future there will be no new sanctions either from America or from anyone else. “Give us guarantees that it will work for a long time without sanctions!” – you can formulate their position in this way.
– But no one wants to give such guarantees.
– Doesn’t want to. Therefore, we, for our part, are also not in a hurry to meet Europe halfway and help them prepare for the winter.
– The thesis is now widespread that Russia, Gazprom and Putin personally use gas as a weapon.
– The main thing is that it is voiced by people who stole 300 billion dollars of gold and foreign exchange reserves, imposed the most severe economic sanctions, banned trade, closed the sky, imposed a ban on the import of Russian coal (it comes into force on August 10 – ed.), imposed a ban on the import of Russian oil by sea (comes into force on December 5, 2022, – ed.). And these people are telling us that trade restrictions should not be used as a political tool? And it would be very naive to expect that Russia will not try to use its opportunities in trade as a tool.
NORTHERN STREAM-2 WILL NOT BE LAUNCHED
– There is an immediate way out of the situation with the turbine. Launch of Nord Stream 2. Is it possible?
– From the point of view of technology, there are no problems with the launch of Nord Stream 2. Vladimir Putin even said this to Gerhard Schroeder, who flew to Moscow. In other words, we can turn it on even now.
But there is no political agreement.
– Nord Stream 2 is a very difficult issue from a political point of view. So I don’t see Europe agreeing to it yet. Look, to solve the problem with the conventional turbine for the first Nord Stream, how long it took them: to persuade Canada, they had to make a decision, vote and all that. It took several weeks. And this, one might say, is a penny question against the backdrop of Nord Stream 2.
SCHROEDER OF RECONCILIATION
– Why did Gerhard Schroeder fly to Russia?
– Officially, his wife said that he discussed energy issues, energy policy.
– As a negotiator?
– You have to understand that he could only talk about this as a private person. It is unlikely that he was Mr. Scholz’s emissary. Even despite the fact that Schroeder did a lot for relations between Russia and Europe (the Nord Stream gas pipeline is also his brainchild), the attitude towards him at home is extremely negative. In the German press, it is rinsed and mixed with mud.
– So he can agree on something?
– I don’t think. Moreover, it will be surprising if he is not declared to be some kind of Putin’s agent at the legal level. Propaganda has been calling it that for a long time.
– How will it all end?
– I think that the more the theses “we don’t need Russian gas”, “we will defeat and destroy Russia”, “will soon give up Russian gas” (I didn’t come up with this, they actually say it to everyone) levels of government since about March), the more the point of view that it is necessary to stop deliveries to Europe will take root in Russia. In this case, Europe will face a complete reduction in supplies, and this will be a very stressful situation for them.
– And if we do not turn the valve to the end?
– Even if there is no complete cessation of supplies and the current situation persists (when we supply gas several times less than last year), it will be very difficult for Europe in terms of preserving its industry. It will have to close more and more due to expensive energy resources.
Europe is in for a tough winter.
– It’s not about winter. Winter is the peak of difficulty. But they still need to do something.
I think Europe will get through this crisis by deindustrialization and economic decline due to the loss of part of the industry, due to the loss of competitiveness compared to other countries of the world. The same Turkey, for example, will take over part of the industrial potential of Europe.
– How will this affect Russia?
– First of all, we need to think about how to replace the European market, when we conclude contracts with the Chinese for new pipes, when, finally, we start new industrialization projects, and so on.