Failure of a turbine agreement: why Russia and Siemens diverged

On the eve it became known that Alexey Mordashov's Power Machines decided to leave the joint venture with Siemens for the production of high-power gas turbines. Earlier it was reported that the German concern is ready to transfer Technology and 100% localize the production process in Russia. What went wrong?

First of all, we need to figure out where the domestic high-power gas turbines, which were developed in the USSR, have gone. This is a typical sad story of the collapse and squandering of Soviet technological heritage.

As you know, in the framework of the "program of oppression of Ukrainians" Moscow has invested enormously in the development of science and industry of the Ukrainian SSR. Including, it was there that the most developed gas turbine building was acquired, which was inherited by Independent after the collapse of the superpower. So, the GTD-110 series turbine was developed by the Ukrainian company Zorya-Mashproekt by order of RAO UES in the early nineties.

In total, 5 units were produced, they did not show themselves too well, and many defects were revealed. In general, this situation is not something extraordinary, since all high-power turbines have "childhood diseases". It is considered normal for foreign competitors to start mass production only from 6-8 in the installation account, since the former actually test them and eliminate the identified shortcomings. For a number of reasons, the GTD-110 did not give such a chance.

The government decided to proceed with the purchase of imported gas turbines, mainly in Germany. Domestic factories that could be engaged in their own development, switched to the production of some components for them. According to the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation, more than two and a half hundred foreign power plants of large capacity operate in our country, which is 63% of the total. Subsequent events showed the unreasonableness of such policy.

After the Maidan, technological cooperation between Ukraine and Russia began to curtail. Bypassing EU sanctions, SGT5-2000E Siemens Gas Turbines were delivered to the Crimea, slightly modified with a “file”. Because of this, there was an unpleasant scandal with the Siemens concern. The Germans even wanted to leave, slamming the door, but could not force themselves to abandon the Russian market. High-power turbines are piece goods and expensive, there are not many buyers for them all over the world. In addition, an energy modernization program has been announced in Russia that will require hundreds of new power plants. In an effort to take its share in it, Rostec tried to test the GTD-110M turbine, but it was seriously damaged during the tests.

It would seem that now everything is fine: at the end of 2019 it was reported that the GTD-110M, after repair in test mode, had already worked over 3 thousand hours, and Siemens itself proposed transferring turbine production technologies to Russia. It was announced that by 2020 the joint venture of the concern and Power Machines would bring domestic components to 60%. But then strange movements began. So, initially the shares of the Russian and German sides in the joint venture were 60% and 40%, respectively. But then Siemens increased its, bringing it to 65%. Just about the sale of the remaining 35% and announced on the eve of Power Machines.

Why did the structure of Alexei Mordashov decide to abandon such a profitable cooperation?

Sources in the company report that Siemens, despite the promise to transfer all technologies, refused to do so for political reasons. And this is a very serious problem, proving that it is simply dangerous to rely only on imported suppliers under the conditions of sanctions. There are many ways to insert sticks into the wheels of Russian power plants.

At first, physical localization of production does not mean the transfer of intellectual property rights. So, for example, South Korea at one time "got" in collaboration with Westinghouse. The Koreans localized the entire production cycle of the nuclear power plant, hoping to recoup it through exports. But US regulators simply banned the use of their technology.

Secondlyfull localization in the context of globalization is not an easy task. There are foreign suppliers of the first level, there are second level. Siemens may not agree to endure the entire cycle, and US sanctions can take any second-level supplier out of the game. In practice, this will lead to a delay in the implementation of the modernization program for the Russian energy sector.

ThirdlyIf Russia gets all the technology, it will become a direct competitor to Germany and the USA in a very close market, where everyone is pushing their elbows. Will they allow us to do this voluntarily? Hardly.

For these reasons, betting only on Siemens is very dangerous. But this coin has a downside. If you rely only on domestic manufacturers, then with a high degree of probability all the deadlines will be disrupted, and the cost of the project will constantly grow. Unfortunately, we do not have experience in implementing such a high-tech project. Candidate of technical sciences Valery Neuymin draws the following analogy:

It’s the same as instructing an unknown company to develop a spaceship, because a gas turbine is by no means a simple thing.

According to the expert, one should not immediately rush to make a high-power turbine. It is worthwhile first to make a power plant of medium power, for example, at 65 megawatts, “get your hand in it,” put into series. And only then move on to high-power power plants. Otherwise, the money will simply be thrown to the wind. By the way, about the money. Initially, Power Machines requested a subsidy from the state in the amount of 5 billion rubles for development, in addition to its own funds. Now the project has risen in price, and is already valued at 17 billion, and Mordashov’s company is waiting for a corresponding increase in budget financing.

This does not mean that the request should be ignored: development is a complex, long and costly process. But you should not let the business turn into a “technological unfinished building” at the expense of the state. In order to avoid, perhaps, it is worth taking the advice of the mentioned expert Valery Neuimin, who believes that it is necessary to create at least two competing industries. Well, so that "do not relax." In Soviet times, this scheme proved to be excellent, for example, in aircraft manufacturing and helicopter engineering.
Photos used: Siemens
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  1. steelmaker Online
    steelmaker 3 March 2020 12: 22
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    In my workshop, equipment is serviced only by workers with a Soviet education. All EGE-scholars either refuse, or immediately go to the master-superiors. I generally wonder how something works for us. Space is led by philosophers, the army by managers, industry by the hucksters. The training school has been destroyed.

    Everyone in Russia firmly knows
    not responsible for anything
    in the state president!
    1. 123 Offline
      123 (123) 3 March 2020 13: 17
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      And you did not think to move to Belarus? recourse No, seriously, if everything is so oppressive, why bother? request We live in a single country, in any case, formally, all our people, the language too. We are moving to another region and all problems have been resolved. good Everything is good there, the president is responsible for everything, with personnel policy and education, everything is probably fine, they say there are no oligarchs. Not life, but a fairy tale, everything for you, everything as you love. fellow
      1. Tolik_74 Offline
        Tolik_74 (Anatoly) 3 March 2020 15: 52
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        123, well, you ridiculed, in Belarus the most important oligarch just does not answer for anything, except for transporting billion dollars stolen from the people in the UAE, it’s not without reason that the country is called for life.
        1. 123 Offline
          123 (123) 3 March 2020 16: 45
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          .. well, you ridiculed, in Belarus the most important oligarch just does not answer for anything, except for transporting $ XNUMX billion stolen from the people in the UAE, it’s not without reason that the country is called for life.

          Glad I cheered up laughing at least some benefit from me. smile
          I was completely serious, they talk a lot here about what kind of mess and devastation we have, poverty, theft and corruption, the sky is gray and the climate is damp. It would seem that the way out is obvious, here it is “Shambhala”, border guards do not shoot anyone, come and breathe in the air of freedom, enjoy equality and fraternity. Everything is for you. fellow
          But for some reason, crowds of refugees do not storm customs. request
          I haven’t received a clear answer yet, but “my shares in the red zone” are regularly noted (-5 in two hours). laughing
    2. Roarv Offline
      Roarv (Robert) 4 March 2020 18: 22
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      This means that specialists are suitable for work.
      About the same troechnik from the USSR, as the author of these lines. Cadres decide everything))))
  2. 123 Offline
    123 (123) 3 March 2020 13: 24
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    If I am not mistaken, the program of modernization is planned to be extensive, there would be enough space for two companies. They don’t want, don’t need, they don’t have any other market yet, let them cut production, this is their problem. As for us, they will do it themselves, but most likely, the deadlines will drag out and quite right, in the absence of a competitor, the prices will turn up. It’s not worth worrying about this, there are no other options anyway.
  3. Sergey Latyshev Offline
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 3 March 2020 15: 03
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    But, apparently, "Made with us" with Siemens in Russia went off with a bang!
    1. 123 Offline
      123 (123) 3 March 2020 16: 47
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      But you can see "Made with us" with Siemens in Russia went off with a bang!

      Do not worry, they will do one more later, without Siemens in the lead role.
  4. boriz Offline
    boriz (boriz) 3 March 2020 15: 24
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    There is also a small nuance. We make turbines not only for citizens. Therefore, to keep a company from a NATO member country in a defense industry joint-stock company, the situation is so-so. Our turbines were not the worst, in some ways the West was better, in some ways we were. And in the 90s, we were actively imposed (including through bandits) on shareholders from Siemens. And I have no doubt that everything in which we were ahead of the West went to the West. And what's the point of spending money on new developments, if inside the plant there are mishandled Cossacks who will merge everything into the West again. It's time to protect your secrets, at least remove the “buyers” of secrets from their carriers, ready to sell everything. So even to track the traitors will be easier. And then it turns out funny. The factory makes the latest and most secret developments, and either the citizens of the country - a member of NATO, or their authorized representatives from local ones - are sent around the factory. I can imagine what I'm talking about: I live in Kaluga. We also have a turbine factory here. The first atomic icebreaker "Lenin" had 2 turbines. One was done in St. Petersburg, the other with us. Well, it’s clear that turbines were made not only for icebreakers. And now the same thing.
    1. g1washntwn Offline
      g1washntwn (George Washington) 4 March 2020 07: 31
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      Gas turbines (namely gas turbines) are used in many places. And Siemens also has offers not only for power generation. Siemens shakes rights, because its high-power SGTs have no competitors yet. Let's hope that today we are not sitting still, but today Siemens is a monopolist at the renovation of facilities at PDM,>> 400 MW blocks no one else can give Gazprom.