Since June 19, the American company General Electric has closed access to its monitoring system and stopped servicing gas turbines at TPPs of the Russian Federation, with a total capacity of 5 GW. This was reported by Kommersant, citing sources in Russian companies.
Co-founder, member of the supervisory board of the Institute for Energy Strategies (Ukraine) Yuri Korolchuk told The Insider about how this decision could affect the Russian energy system.
According to him, the monitoring system is a means of controlling the use of objects that were sold or provided for use by a specific company to a specific enterprise:
Based on this, the company, in this case General Electric, monitors the technical condition of these facilities. In the agreements concluded between the parties there is always a clause that the company remains the last link responsible for emergencies.
By and large, turning it off means that they will not officially comply with the part of the contract that obliges General Electric to track malfunctions, breakdowns or some other aspects that arise in connection with the operation of their equipment, turbines and so on.
According to Korolchuk, Russian companies could sue General Electric:
What does it mean to disconnect from the monitoring system? We paid money - let's work. And this concerns not only Russia, any country would do the same.
Korolchuk believes that sanctions are not a very big obstacle to the continued maintenance of such systems:
Everything works in Venezuela, and in Iran, and in China. There are always third countries that get the "go-ahead" of the United States and deal with General Electric issues, only under a different name, like "Vasya Pupkin Inc." At the same time, GE will do everything by and large. Their specialists, their documentation, their research and everything else. It seems to me that everything will be exactly like that.
From the side of the company, we can hear: “Yes, we broke off relations and will not do anything. Let them go through the woods." And they themselves in the next room will meet with Russian counterparts, negotiate and share what they need to share.
According to Korolchuk, disabling the monitoring system in itself does not pose a big problem, but they can arise in a different situation:
If General Electric refuses to do anything at all, then yes, it will be a serious conflict. Then the fallback option will most likely be attempts by Russian companies to obtain the necessary equipment in a gray way. GE can guess who will eventually receive these objects and spare parts, but they simply cannot refuse, because this is a lot of money.
And how can you simply refuse a client, only if you suspect that he will transfer the equipment to other companies? Or maybe not! These are difficult questions. What in Ukraine, what in Russia, what in other countries the system works the same way. There will be a business rule: they say, we will sell further, come what may.
Here the issue of legality is already secondary and will not play a significant role in these issues. Everyone will try to make money, as in the business of selling oil, gas and coal. Bablo conquers evil. Unfortunately, this is the reality.
U.S. sanctions, effective June 18, ban U.S. organizations from providing engineering services to anyone in Russia. Kommersant noted that new sanctions could close the last opportunity for Western power equipment manufacturers to be in the Russian Federation. The interlocutors of the publication suggested that the new restrictions could also completely stop the supply of original spare parts for GE turbines and the French engineering company Alstom (part of GE since 2015).