A turbine has been sitting lonely for quite a long time. The Siemens Energy turbine that has become the unlikely point of legal and diplomatic conflict amid the Russia-Ukraine war was again pushed to the limelight when Siemens asked people to suggest songs for it.
Our famous turbine is still not where it should be. It’s standing around lonely at our site in Mülheim. Let’s do the poor thing a favor and create a @Spotify playlist. What should be included?— Siemens Energy (@Siemens_Energy) August 17, 2022
We'll start with "So Lonely" by the @ThePoliceBand … what are your suggestions? pic.twitter.com/uVgvV8Jaza
“Our famous turbine is still not where it should be. It’s standing around lonely at our site in Mülheim. Let’s do the poor thing a favour and create a Spotify playlist. What should be included? We’ll start with “So Lonely” by the @ThePoliceBand… what are your suggestions?” Siemens Energy tweeted on August 17.
As people around the world started suggesting songs for the ‘lonely’ turbine, Russian energy giant Gazprom, which has halted gas supply to Europe citing the lack of that particular turbine, chipped in.
“Why don’t you take this track?” Gazprom tweeted, sharing a link for ‘Breaking the Law’ by Judas Priest.
Gazprom is not the only one trolling Siemens though. A number of people have shared tweets shaming Siemens, Germany and Canada for humiliating themselves. Some even accused Siemens of helping a dictator, by ensuring energy supplies to Europe from Russia.
Noone:— Vasyl Pupchenko 🇺🇦 (з мопсом на аватарці) (@pumpidupumpa) August 19, 2022
Siemens: let's make a playlist to accompany a genocide campaign we are heavily investing into with our money. It's been to long since the last one we payed for
What's up Siemens? https://t.co/9UHVU975sy https://t.co/JuxDP1pCkb
What is the turbine and why is it the centre of a major energy conflict between Russia and Europe?
The turbine in question is a Siemens SGT-A65, a giant 12-metre, 20-tonne turbine that was a part of the Nordstream 1 pipeline at the Portovaya compressor station. Russian energy giant Gazprom, which operates the Nordstream 1 pipeline and supplies natural gas to Europe via the Baltic Sea, had cited maintenance issues and faulty operations in that turbine and had cut gas supplies to almost 20%.
That Siemens turbine was then sent to Germany, and from there, it went to Canada’s Montreal where Siemens’ facility is located. As the EU nations and Canada have all imposed severe economic sanctions against Russia, the transit of the turbine needed special permissions and much diplomatic efforts. The delay and diplomatic tussle were mainly due to the NATO nations’ own sanctions against Russia.
On July 10, Canada’s minister of natural resources Jonathan Wilkinson stated that Canada will allow a ‘time-limited and revocable’ to enable Siemens Energy to send the turbine back to Germany. The turbine was sent for maintenance to Siemens after 10 years of use, as per reports. Germany and other NATO nations have been accusing Russia of citing false excuses to reduce gas supplies and using energy as a weapon. But Russia insists that the problems are due to the heavy sanctions that the EU and NATO nations have imposed against Russia.
Earlier this month, Siemens had stated that they have provided all documentation to Russia and the customs papers for the transit of the turbine have to be provided by Gazprom. Russia says that at least six gas pumping units are needed to maintain supplies and due to delays from Siemens’ end, only one of them is in fully working condition at their compressor station at Portovaya. Gazprom has accused Siemens of not fulfilling its obligations under the law.
Early in August, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had visited Siemens’ facility in Mulheim, Germany where the ‘repaired’ turbine was kept. He had posed for photographs with the turbine and had asked Russia to take it back, and restore gas supplies to earlier levels.
While Germany accuses Gazprom and Russia of not taking the turbine back, Gazprom and Russia blame Siemens (and Germany) for not repairing the machines and causing delay, indirectly insisting that Germany has itself to blame for the reduced supply of energy via the Nordstream pipeline.
The war between Russia and Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions by NATO nations against Russia has exposed the extreme dependency of European nations upon Russian supplies. It is notable here that while most Western nations and their media commentators try to blame India for buying cheap Russian oil, they refuse to acknowledge the fact that they have been paying Russia billions of dollars every month for oil, coal and gas.
A curious reality of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is that while Western powers provide billions in aid and weapons to Ukraine, they also keep paying billions to Russia for energy, thus funding both sides of a conflict.