Dmitry Peskov: “Turbulent environment caused instability in the fuel and energy sector, but Russia has overcome the difficulties”
The results of the year in the fuel and energy complex of the country, plans for the development of the industry and the victory of Realnoe Vremya in the federal competition MediaTek
For the first time, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the results of the all-Russian competition of media and press services of the companies of the fuel and energy complex MediaTek were summed up via video conference, which connected 61 regions of the country. In addition to awarding the winners, the participants of the contest, which was attended by Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Alexander Novak, briefly summed up the work of the industry in the past year. In the regions, the achievements and plans for the development of the fuel and energy complex were discussed in more detail. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
Any artificial intelligence is powered from a power outlet
More than half a thousand (586) applications from 61 regions of the country. And these are only those who have reached the federal stage of the traditional all-Russian competition of mass media, press services of fuel and energy companies and regional administrations to cover the activities of Russian fuel and energy companies. All this speaks about the importance and relevance of the topic, said Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary of the President of Russia — Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia, as well as the head of the expert council of the MediaTek 2020 competition. He thanked for organising the media awards, which were usually held within the framework of the Energy Week (International Energy Forum — editor's note).
“This is very important, because it is very difficult to overestimate the importance of energy in the life of the world in general, and in our country — especially. This is the fundamental spectrum of our economy that actually feeds us, which gives us the opportunity to develop high-tech industries, which gives us the opportunity to look into the future. We all remember the famous phrase that any artificial intelligence is powered from an outlet, so everything starts from this outlet," Peskov said.
The speaker stressed that, as in all other sectors of the economy, the “coronacrisis” has seriously affected the fuel and energy complex.
“Unfortunately, the turbulent environment has caused instability for the raw materials sector, and then for all types of industry one by one. But, in my opinion, our country has very well managed to get out of these difficulties: to stabilise the situation and the international price environment, and most importantly, the absolute stability of this sector of the national economy of the Russian economy has been ensured. It really has. This is difficult to dispute and probably that is why, despite all the ongoing pandemic difficulties, we continue to look with confidence to the future of our fuel and energy sector in the next year and the foreseeable future. Probably, the role of informants is to tell the world, our citizens, how the fuel and energy sector lives, what problems it faces, what difficulties it has. And many of you finely handle this. Thank you," he said not only to those sitting in the Moscow studio, but also to those who gathered in front of screens in the regions.
“We do not stand still. The industry is developing. The fuel and energy sector is facing new challenges today. And it is largely thanks to your work that our citizens and authorities will learn about this. And we are consolidating our efforts to solve together the challenges facing the industry and the economy. It is important that there is feedback," Alexander Novak added Peskov.
Then there was the award ceremony. Among the winners of the contest are two participants from Tatarstan, Realnoe Vremya online newspaper is one of them. The expert committee, which included the heads of major media and leading Russian universities, recognised our publication worthy of the first position in the nomination “New energy for the country and development of energy” among the regional media. Another stylised cup in the nomination “For many years of work among children to promote careful attitude to energy” was awarded to Tatenergosbyt JSC.
“Indeed, the MediaTek competition is very important. Media attention to the work of our fuel and energy complex is important. So in life it turns out that the work of our power engineers is remembered only when there are interruptions. In fact, behind all this work, behind the uninterrupted supply of fuel, energy, heat, there is constant — 24 hours a day in any weather — huge work of many thousands of teams of fuel and energy companies. And these people are also pleased and it is important to understand the significance of their work. Both the public opinion that you form and the assessment of their activities depend largely on how you convey this information," sais Albert Karimov, the deputy prime minister of the Republic of Tatarstan, minister of industry and trade of the Republic of Tatarstan, presenting the award.
Albert Karimov: “It is important to continue implementing investment projects”
Immediately after the award ceremony, it was time to ask questions. Besides Albert Karimov, the speakers of the press conference were Eduard Galeev, the director general of TGC-16 JSC, Rauzil Khaziev, the director general of Tatenergo JSC, Ilshat Galimzyanov, the deputy director general — technical director of Grid Company JSC, and Damir Mukhametshin, the deputy director general — director of the department of Tatneft PJSC.
The journalist of Realnoe Vremya asked the Tatarstan minister of industry and trade what was the main achievement of the industry in the outgoing year and what the emphasis would be put on in the foreseeable future. Answering the first question, the deputy prime minister noted:
“The most important achievement in the energy sector is reliable and uninterrupted power supply. The unpredictable first half of the year, especially at the end of the first quarter, from March onwards, the intensive work of the management and engineering personnel made it possible to prevent inflammatory foci, arrange shift work 24 hours a day.
The industry suffered losses: the volume of electricity generation fell by 18% — from 28 billion kWh to 24 billion. The demand fell, and accordingly, capacity utilisation. There are still many inefficient generation facilities in the republic with high fuel consumption per unit of energy. Therefore, maximum efforts should be made to ensure that in the foreseeable future, others will join the already implemented projects for the modernisation of capacities by about 1 GW (facilities at Kazan CHPP-1, -2 and -3, as well as in Nizhnekamsk).
“It is a great achievement that the Zainskaya GRES is included in the CDA programme. It is very important to carry out registration, selection and launch work in such conditions. If we have less than 200 grams for the production of kWh at the Zainskaya GRES, this means a significant increase in our capacity, the republic. We will get more energy and reduce the gap that we have today between electricity generation and its consumption. The same large-scale projects are being implemented in TAIF. In 2021, it is planned to put into operation a 495 MW CCGT in Nizhnekamsk. This is a new unit," Karimov said.
The head of the ministry of industry and trade of the Republic of Tatarstan called the most important achievement that the companies of the republic, despite the complexity of the situation, with state support or at their own expense (like TAIF Group) continue to implement the adopted programmes. According to Karimov, this is “the key to uninterrupted energy supply and competitive energy for the development of our production facilities and plants for many, many years to come”.
Eduard Galeev, answering the journalist's question about the impact of the pandemic on the company he heads, admitted that the fall in demand for thermal energy has also affected electricity generation, and therefore the company's profit. At the same time, TGC-16 did not stop for a minute not only production, but also other work. Moreover, having seriously invested in the purchase of protective equipment for personnel, the company could keep the team in good health and decided to significantly expand the repair programme. It plans to continue working in this direction in the new 2021 year. He also said that the new CCGT at Nizhnekamskneftekhim will be put into operation next summer.
Rauzil Khaziyev, in his turn, noted that the construction work has already begun at the Zainskaya GRES, and the updated capacity is planned to be put into operation in about 3,5 years. In addition, work is underway to include the Naberezhnye Chelny CHPP in the state programme for modernisation. Moreover, the company already has the equipment for installation. The help of the federal centre is needed only for the construction and installation works.
How OPEC+ deal will affect Tatarstan's oil production
Tatarstan will indeed be able to produce less oil, Albert Karimov admitted. For the current year, the decline is approximately 13%. But the minister did not agree with that the OPEC+ deal, which limits the volume of black gold extraction, is evil.
“Certainly, on the one hand, it is necessary to fulfill the conditions. But at the same time, we need to understand that the problems arise not because of the OPEC+ deal. Without a deal, one can only speculate on what the situation would be. We've all seen oil prices go down. There was a drop in demand. You know to what lows oil prices have fallen. Now the price is about $50. Without the deal, it is quite possible that we would have produced the same volumes, but the price would have been much lower. We would, figuratively speaking, pedal faster, but still stay in place. It is possible and necessary to evaluate OPEC+ deals precisely from the point of view of a combination of factors and their influence," he expressed his opinion.
For the efficiency of the republic and companies operating on its territory to be higher, it is necessary to develop non-resource and non-energy areas. In the same way as TAIF and Tatneft do, they build and put into operation capacities that increase the depth of processing of hydrocarbon raw materials.
Loss reduction and smart meters
In general, in Russia, the loss of electricity in the process of delivery to the final consumer is 7-10%. Grid Company has achieved a reduction in this indicator to 6,4% and continues to work on further improvement of the indicator. This was stated by Deputy Director General — Technical Director at Grid Company JSC Ilshat Galimzyanov. Serious work is underway to modernise the grid itself, and substations are being reconstructed:
“Now the programme for 2020-2024 has been adopted, where objects where we will reconstruct are designated for each year. This year, a very serious work has been carried out at the Zelenodolsk substation of 220kV. The object of 220 kV voltage itself is serious. In the company, we try to apply new technologies at all our modernised facilities. At the Zelenodolsk substation, we introduced remote control of electrical protection devices for the first time in Russia. Now switching is automatic. In Verkhny Uslon, Grid Company completed the construction of a 110 kV substation. We are carrying out the reconstruction of the 500 kV Bugulma, in the future the Pestretsy and Toyma-2 substations," he said.
Another area in which Tatarstan was one of the first in Russia — the installation of smart meters. Grid Company alone in 2020 installed about 130 smart meters. Tatenergosbyt — another 18,000.
“We set ourselves the task of systematic implementation and installation of such meters in the republic. The very phrase “intelligent accounting” suggests that it is not just a device that counts electricity, but also has functionality that allows us to see our grids, get the information that we need for further improvement. According to the installed meters, there is already a result — there is an analysis to reduce electricity losses, conclusions and analyses have been made on problem areas where we can direct funds to improve the efficiency and reliability of electricity supplies," Galimzyanov stressed.
“Today there is a federal requirement for the installation of intelligent metering devices. Here, our companies are ahead of the curve. It should be understood that today all meters that are retired by the time of verification will be replaced with intelligent metering devices. And this gives a huge advantage in terms of information regarding the fight against debts, theft. Both Grid Company and Tatenergosbyt have their own programmes for installing intelligent metering devices. In general, this work should be completed throughout the republic," Karimov supported the representative of Grid Company.
The representative of Tatenergosbyt clarified that in 2021 the company plans to install about 29,000 more smart meters.
There is no decision yet on the creation of a unified heating network company
Journalists were also concerned about the current stage of the project to create a single heating network company based on Tatenergo and Kazenergo.
“The decision to create a single heating network company on the basis of Tatenergo and Kazenergo has not yet been made," the head of the ministry of industry and trade said shortly.
However, journalists were also interested in the deputy prime minister's personal opinion on whether such a union is necessary or not.
“It is difficult to answer unequivocally here. Many factors need to be considered when considering the issue. On the one hand, it is the availability of heating networks for consumers, there are financial issues: what tariff from which station will be applied. It is also important to take into account the physics of the process: it is hydrodynamics, hydraulics, distance, what energy will be required to take heat over this distance. That is, these are not such simple questions that can be quickly and easily answered. Here it is necessary to measure seven times, cut once. We are measuring now," Karimov explained.
Wind power generation will appear in Tatarstan by 2023-2024
The current trend is renewable energy sources. Tatarstan is also preparing to ride the wind. Moreover, the research conducted by scientists showed that there is a “commercial wind” in the republic.
“This is one of the significant components that shows whether this industry can develop in the Republic of Tatarstan or not. But there are a few other equally important questions. The first is the land issue, because the units must be sufficiently distributed over a large territory, where dozens, hundreds of owners are located, and the issues of interaction must be settled with all of them. And another equally important question is how the wind farm can join the existing power system — whether there is capacity and whether there is a need for this energy. This is a separate issue and quite expensive because creating such a separate entry point is quite expensive. Today, the companies with which we interact are doing this work. At the weekly control of the deputy minister of industry. “We are working with all the leading players in this market. In particular, with Enel, which represents Italian investors, with NovaWind — Rosatom. And we already consider all these issues in detail separately for each section of each of the districts," Albert Karimov explained.
In particular, research is carried out in the Kamsko-Ustyinsky, Alekseyevskoye, Chistopol, Buinsk and Spassky districts. The programmes for the construction of wind farms in the capacity range from 60 to 200 MW are being discussed with the heads of municipalities and with specialists. In 2021, it is planned to make a final decision on the construction sites, equipment and its capacity, then an application for state support will be submitted. In 2021-2022, it will be possible to start construction and around 2023-2024 wind turbines will give the first energy.
“Several wind farms. Taking into account that our installed capacity is now 8,000 MW. The peak load is about 4,300 MW on our power system, so the total capacity of 200-600 MW will be about 10% of all capacities. I think that in the near future we will focus on basic generation — hydroelectric power and gas turbine," the deputy prime minister stressed.
When asked whether renewable energy will once become dominant, the minister answered in the affirmative. But he added that this event is very distant. First, the wind power industry should learn to do without state support, and the equipment should become competitive in price with equal capacity with the traditional one. Besides, it is necessary to solve the problem with the technology of storing the produced energy. So far, there are no sufficiently capacious batteries in nature. Now we need to gain experience and train specialists.
Karimov: “One shouldn't wait for fuel prices to rise”
But we can't exclude it. Another answer of Albert Karimov to a topical question.
“The cost of gasoline consists of many factors: the cost of oil, the cost of the dollar, the cost of refining, the tax component — one of the main ones. It is difficult to predict an unambiguous trend," he said.
In the republic, the cost of gasoline is lower than the average for the Volga Federal District. This is due to regulatory measures at the state level, the work of the working group established on behalf of Rustam Minnikhanov, and constant monitoring by the republican department for the rational use of fuel and energy resources.
An additional deterrent to higher prices on the part of fuel producers and sellers should be the development of alternative types. In particular — transport on compressed and liquefied gas. The transport on compressed gas in the republic is already almost 9,000 units. Including municipal and public transport. Besides, a working group has already been established to develop a programme for creating an electric charging infrastructure. Thanks to it, more electric cars are going to appear in the republic.
Communication with journalists lasted almost an hour and a half. Many questions were asked. Even more — left. For example, Tatneft PJSC invited the media for a traditional conversation with the director general in January next year for details about where the company plans to develop oil production abroad and how it plans to work in the fields of ultra-viscous oil, taking into account the latest changes in tax legislation. Other fuel and energy companies are probably also preparing their press conferences.