Gas turbines

Russian court rejects Siemens’ request to seize illegal gas turbines

Image credit: Dreamstime

A Moscow court has rejected a request by Siemens to prevent the installation of four of its gas turbines, which have been transported to Crimea in a violation of international sanctions.

The German engineering firm intended to seize the turbines and ban their installation ahead of preliminary hearings due to begin on September 18 2017. According to Siemens, its Russian state-owned customer, Technopromexport, had confirmed that the turbines would not be sent to Crimea, which was annexed from Ukraine by Russia in 2014.

In July 2017, Siemens filed a lawsuit against a Russian-owned firm, following the revelation that at least two of the four gas turbines sold for use in the Russian peninsula of Taman had been transported to Crimea.

Moscow’s Arbitration Court has reported that it has rejected Siemens’ request.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that firms owned by the Russian government had surreptitiously moved the turbines to Crimea with the assistance of Russia’s ZAO Interautomatika, in which Siemens holds a small stake.

Crimea has been subjected to heavy US and EU sanctions, with European companies banned from providing arms, energy technology and some financial products, with many Western companies being obliged to leave the peninsula.

Following Crimea’s reunification with Russia, the region’s residents faced power supply problems, due to their energy dependence on Ukraine. A state of emergency was declared in November 2015 after power lines from Ukraine were blown up, causing a total blackout.

The Siemens turbines are required for two new Crimean power plants which form the basis of President Vladimir Putin’s vow to ensure a stable power supply for the region. Sergei Aksyonov, the Kremlin-backed Prime Minister of Crimea, has confirmed that the electrification of Crimea would go ahead as planned without the need for foreign expertise, although he has not provided any further details.

The violation of international sanctions has resulted in the EU expanding its penalties against Russia, including blacklisting three Russian nationals – including Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister Andrey Cherezov – and three Russian companies.

“Establishing an independent power supply for Crimea and Sevastopol supports their separation from Ukraine and undermines the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” an EU statement said.

“Gas turbines are a substantial element in the development of new power plants.”

Moscow has announced its view that the expansion of sanctions is illegal and politically motivated.

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